Advice from Preschool Teachers

"My daughter can't handle transitions."

  • Give warnings. Since it's difficult for preschoolers to switch gears, Field uses a countdown clock as a visual aid. You and your child can make one at home with a paper plate and some markers. "I move the hand one number every minute, and when it hits zero, I say, 'Blast off—it's snacktime,' " she says.
  • Have a competition. Kids love winning races, so challenge yours to hustle from one activity to the next as quickly as possible. "Try saying, 'Let's see if you can put all your cars away and come to dinner before I count to 20,' " Patterson says.
  • Do the locomotion. If your child is reluctant to turn off the TV and get into the tub, make the journey itself a diversion by having her crawl like a snake or hop like a frog to the bathroom. Introduce new movements every time, such as stomping like an elephant, waddling like a duck, tapping on the walls, or pretending to hold a jackhammer as she walks.

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