As kids head back to in-person learning after a year of remote classes, it’s A–okay to feel a lil’ worried about the process. They went through a big change, then got into the at-home groove, and now they’re going through yet another transition. And this likely won’t be the only big shift they go through – life is full of changes, after all! So we wanted to share the different ways you can help children navigate change in order to make sure each one is smooth.
Take the time to talk
If you are able to anticipate a big change, talking about it well in advance is sure to make things easier. The earlier you tell kiddos about an upcoming shift, the better! This will give you the time to explain everything properly and will give children time to process it. And if kids are expressing their own thoughts and feelings, then our top tip is to listen and address any concerns as best you can. For example, if they’re about to start a new school and they’re worried about it, then taking them for a tour before their first day can be quite calming!
Read about change
Story time is great for many reasons – it improves a child’s reading and listening skills, it lets kids soak in new and fun information, it sparks their imagination, and it can also help them navigate change! The trick here is finding books that resemble the situation your family is going through. Say you’re planning on moving to a different city soon. A great way to tackle that change is to read books about that city, about traveling, or about the joy of discovering new places. And if the characters in the books are children, it can help little ones see themselves in the story and feel confident about their own change.
Create a sense of control
You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to big life changes (reasonably so), but giving kids a wee bit of control over the situation can make things easier for them. Not only will it encourage independence, but letting children make a few little decisions can make them feel positively included in the shift. If the plan is to adopt a furry friend, for example, then let your little one choose the color of the leash and pick out a couple of toys! Small steps, big impact.
B. the constant
A big change can take over many aspects of family life, but keeping some sense of a routine is key! If we stick with the moving example, seeing cardboard boxes pile up and rooms getting emptier by the hour can be a lil’ overwhelming for children. This is where consistency comes in! We recommend sticking to the small things you do every day – the way you wake kiddos up, a weekly game night, or dinnertime as a family. These moments will in turn provide stability and a sense of safety!
If you see that the change in question is causing a lot of frowns, then highlighting the positive things in a child’s life can go a long way. Helping them notice the things that make them happy – their favorite plush buddy, your colorful garden, their friends across the street – can turn those frowns upside down! The next step would be to encourage them to express gratitude (a simple “thank you” is great!), which is something that can not only help them navigate a particular change, but it’ll also come in handy in the future.
Change is unavoidable, it has its ups and downs, but it can also come with a ton of excitement. Whatever change you’re going through, we at B. hope that your new chapter starts off smoothly!
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