As we’ve entered September, a busy time of year, there are a lot of transitions for children and parents. Unfortunately, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Many children and parents have been nervous about returning to the classroom full-time, and many parents have been nervous about returning to the office, which makes this a great time to talk about how we can handle life transitions with children.
Often life transitions are unpredictable, uncomfortable, and overwhelming. The transition from something old to something new can increase your child’s level of anxiety and stress very quickly. Whether your child is moving to a new school or a new house, it can be a very scary process for them. As difficult as it can be for adults to go through life transitions, children require even more support during these times.
Here are a few tips & strategies for helping your child through life transitions.
KEEPING A ROUTINE
Children need consistency and routine. No matter what type of transition your child may be experiencing, they require routines to help them ease into the transition. The routine should include consistent meal times, bedtimes, designated homework time, and limited time on technological devices. Also be sure to include time for some fun, such as playing a board game, reading a book, and going for a walk or a drive. Anytime there are changes within the routine, ensure to communicate it with your child as they are extremely adaptable, and would benefit from knowing what is to come.
Any time a child is likely to experience a change in their life, it is important for the parent or guardian to talk about how they feel regarding the transition. Creating space for your child to share their feelings about any changes they may be experiencing may help reduce any confusion or stress they have over the situation. As the parent or guardian, be enthusiastic and encouraging about the transition to your child, as they are likely to follow your lead on how they should react to the change. Children don’t always know why or how to handle transitions, so walk alongside them during this process.
Children find it very helpful to have charts, calendars, or other visual cues that can help them follow their schedules. This is also seen in classrooms where there is a “shape of the day” on the board to help children know what subjects they will be transitioning to throughout the day. This can also be extremely helpful at home to teach them how to manage their time and schedules.
As a parent, you have a special role in comforting your child through these uncertain times. The parent/child relationship is essential in supporting your child in what may feel like a scary movie. By providing encouragement, and reassurance, you increase the likelihood that your child will overcome this new obstacle. Be sure to provide praise to your child throughout the process, and recognize those moments when things are going well. Lastly, provide comfort for your child, give them hugs and reassuring words to reaffirm them that they are doing their best.
It’s important to remember that children are extremely resilient, and adaptable when it comes to life changes. Adults have the ability to help children feel safe and secure during the transition process, but also considering the individual needs of your child. Your support will help motivate your child to continue through the transition with confidence!
Thanks for reading!