Change is inevitable, but that doesn't make it any easier. While children are very good at adapting to new situations, they can also be really affected by big changes in their lives, and it's important to acknowledge that and make sure that you make it as easy as possible for them.
Give Them Time to Prepare
While preparation isn't always possible if it is an option then give your child plenty of warning that a change is coming to allow them time to process and begin to accept the change. It also gives you time to familiarize your child with the unfamiliar. If you're moving, take your child to look at the new house or new school. Talk about what to expect if you're expecting a new baby and all the ways your children can be great big brothers or sisters.
Make Things Easier For Yourself
Children pick up on stress, so if you're stressed about a big change, then the likelihood is that they will be too. Make things as easy as you can for yourself. For example, if you're moving home, then Bekins Moving Solution says that the easiest way to ensure a safe moving experience for your children and your entire family is to rent a storage unit to give you extra space to clear out the boxes from your home as soon as they're packed. These kinds of little tips will ease life for you, thus easing life for the kids.
Listen to Their Concerns
While you'll want to focus on the positives associated with the big life change, also take time to address your child's questions and concerns. Help them work through the emotions that they're feeling. Acknowledge and validate their feelings without being too quick to distract them or try to shield them from their emotions. Coaching children through their emotions is a vital learning experience; shielding them teaches nothing.
Read Books About Big Life Changes
There are plenty of children's books written to help kids cope with major life changes, for example, if it's divorce then look at It's Not Your Fault, Koko Bear by Vicki Lansky or Two Homes by Claire Masurel. If it's a new baby coming, read You Were the First by Patricia McLachlan or Babies Don't Eat Pizza: A Big Kid's Book About Baby Brothers and Sisters by Dianne Danzig or if you're moving house, try A Kiss Goodbye by Audrey Penn or My Very Exciting, Sorta Scary Big Move by Lori Attanasio Woodring.
Keep Routines the Same
When a major change happens, it's important to give your child as much consistency and stability as possible. Do your best to stick to your usual schedule and routines, and don't facilitate any additional changes that may further upset your child. Bedtimes and mealtimes, in particular, should remain consistent. The structure feels safe for children, so provide as much of it as possible to restore a sense of safety.
Give Them Choices and Ask for Help
During a big life change, children feel that they have no control over their lives so let them make some decisions such as what colour to paint the bedroom, what meal to cook for the first night in the new house or what to wear for the first day at a new school. Children like to help out and feel valuable and responsible, so ask them for help too.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.