prepare your child for a change

Five Ways to Prepare Your Child for a Big Change

Posted on September 27, 2018 : Posted in Legacy Academy, Parenting Tips

prepare your child for a change

Big changes and transitions are difficult for everyone. Whether it’s a move, addition of a new baby, or a new school, children are often especially impacted by the stress of change. As a parent, however, there are tools you can use to prepare your child for a change. With preparation, your child may surprise you with their maturity and coping skills when a change takes place.

Give Plenty of Time for Your Child to Adjust

Some parents choose not to disclose transitions to their children until the moment it is happening. While this may seem to prevent difficulty, it causes great confusion for the children involved and more than likely will cause more conflict in days to come. Give children plenty of time to adjust to a coming change. By explaining that change is coming, a child can ask questions, be involved in preparations, and feel ownership over the transition. Warning your child of a coming change also allows them to confide in you with their fears, anxieties, and negative feelings. By confiding in you and receiving reassurance, your child moves through the negative feelings more quickly and with understanding.

Play Pretend

One way that children express their big feelings and worries is through pretend play. Offer to play a game mimicking the change you have coming. Allow her to direct you in how to act while offering details about how the transition will happen. This will prepare your child for a change while also allowing you to gently correct any misconceptions he has about what is coming. If your child does not want to pretend that he or she is experiencing the change, you can use stuffed animals, army men, Lego mini-figures, or dolls to act out the story.

Visit Relevant Places

If your big change includes a new home, school, or other environments, try to visit all the relevant locations with your child. This will give your child something concrete to associate with the coming transition, as well as giving her a chance to imagine what life will be like after the change. This is also a good opportunity to introduce your child to any person who will be part of your lives after the change, such as teachers or new neighbors.

Draw or Paint a Picture

Many children are better able to express themselves through artwork than with words. For this reason, it is good to encourage your child to draw or paint a picture of the big change that is coming. Once the picture is complete, ask your child to explain it to you. Be careful not to lead her to the answers you expect. Instead, be curious about how she expressed her expectations and feelings. Thank her for sharing her picture with you, and offer to put it somewhere special where she can see it.

Tell a Story

Children find great comfort in stories with good endings. By telling your child the story of the change that is coming, you give him the opportunity to hear that even if things are hard during a transition, everything will be okay. Alternatively, tell a “popcorn story” with your children, taking turns in adding details to the story. Each person has an opportunity to give their perspective, allowing you to hear their thoughts and feelings.

Children are very resilient. With the right tools and encouragement, they handle transitions with grace and ease. Give your child plenty of warning, help them process through art and pretend, and offer them concrete experience with what is to come. As you prepare your child for a change, you will see them grow in their understanding, maturity, and capability. If you are looking for childcare that will support you through your season of transition, consider Legacy Academy Greenville. Our staff takes great pride in their compassionate, connected relationships with our students.