Change is inevitable. Helping your children learn to cope with changes as they grow will ease their path into adulthood.
Let Them Talk
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to let them know you are there to hear what they have to say.
From early infancy, children look to their close caregivers to learn to respond to the world. Listen to what your kids are telling you about their lives.
Take the time each day to ask them what is going on in their world when they get home from school.
When they know you’re there to hear their concerns, that can help them cope with changes more easily.
Like adults, kids tend to need time to prepare for any changes that are coming down the pike. You want to do your part to let them know what is going on and why.
For example, if you are planning to move to a new place, you’ll want to include your children in the conversation. Tell them about the move at least a month before you begin packing.
Modern life makes it easy to find lots of resources to help children adjust to varied kinds of changes. You can always rent movies about change.
Look for age-appropriate movies. Books can also help. Your child’s teacher might have a list of recommended books that explore this theme in great depth.
Encourage your child to discuss what they have learned from the media. You can offer them the support they need to ask questions and think about the issues they see and read about.
Stick to Routines
Children are looking for a foundation in life. They want to feel secure as they grow. When kids know there will be breakfast on the table and you’ll have clothing laid out for them, they tend to be better able to cope with any unexpected changes for the rest of the day.
Stick to the same time each night for dinner, then a story and a bath. Do the same with bedtime each night. This will build confidence and a child’s overall sense of safety.
Give Them Options
Giving children options lets them feel comfortable with making all sorts of choices. For example, give your child two choices for lunch.
They can pick between macaroni and cheese or pizza. That will let your child think about the other choices they might have made. Other choices can also help. For example, let them come up with a color scheme for their bedroom.
They might pick out three colors they find most pleasing. Allowing children to make choices is one of the best ways to give them a sense of empowerment.
Children feel they have agency. That means they know how to work with potential changes as they come along.
Assisting children with new changes means assisting them with becoming fully confident, well-prepared adults.