One thing that we can always count on, all the time, is the reality of change. We can be sure that change is going to happen. I once heard a saying, â??you can only eat an elephant one bite at a timeâ??. Change is a bit like that â?? it can look massive, scary and overwhelming, but you can work through it one step at a time.
As children, we learn many skills, but how to properly work through change is often overlooked or even avoided. As a result, as adults, we often make decisions in our lives in order to avoid change. But change is inevitable â?? it happens even when we try to avoid it. If we do not have the necessary coping skills and self-reliance to deal with change, it can often leave us feeling unfulfilled, anxious or depressed. In some cases, we use unhealthy ways to comfort ourselves or dull the discomfort and pain of change.
One of the most important skills you can help your child develop is the ability to deal with change. There are everyday changes all children face, such as adjusting to a new babysitter or school, or to new teachers and friends. Many children must face bigger changes as well – a loss, a move, or a divorce in the family. All change, whether itâ??s the end of the school year, the birth of a sibling, or a move to a new home, can bring some sadness and uncertainty as well as anticipation and excitement.
Here are eight ways you can help your child prepare for and handle change:
1. Talk them through it
In order for children to deal with change, they need to feel secure and certain that the adults are in charge. This creates a feeling of safety and that things are going to be okay. Children can adjust to most changes when they know what to expect. Talk about what will happen and what the change will mean for all of you.
For example, if you will be moving to a new home, talk about how hard it can feel, how much fun it is, and what to expect. Create an environment in which they feel safe about asking you anything about the changes theyâ??re facing.
Getting answers to their questions helps them process change.