With life moving at such a fast pace, and with the unpredictability of the past few years, learning to cope with change has become an invaluable skill. Change is inevitable, but for children when their structure and stability is changed, it can be a very confusing and challenging time.
Here are some quick tips for parents and carers to help support their child during times of change and to help build their resilience:
- Give an advanced warning and time to prepare. If possible, discuss what is happening as honestly and positively as you can. Try and give your child as much time as you can to understand that a change is coming. This will allow your child time to ask questions, process and begin to accept the change.
- Let them ask questions and listen to their concerns. Let your child ask as many questions as they need to help them process and begin to understand the change. Keep your answers simple, age appropriate and positive. If you do not know the answer to a question, that is OK, let your child know that you don’t have the answer but as soon as you do you will let them know. Listen with empathy, and acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings and emotions.
- Keep routines the same. When change occurs, big or little, it’s important to try and keep routines and structures the same. This will provide stability and a sense of safety for your child. Do your best to try and keep routines such as morning school drop offs, mealtimes and bedtime routines consistent.
- Provide connection and play. Play is one of the best ways to work through stress and change and to build connections with your child. Keep your connection with your child consistent. This can be as simple as setting 10 minutes aside each day to give your child your undivided attention and enjoy some playtime together.
- Give them choices and ask for their help. During change, adults and children can often feel like they have very limited control over their lives. To help children build their sense of agency, let children make some choices for themselves. This can be as easy as letting your child choose their own clothes, choosing a family meal, or even deciding what play activity you will do each day.
If you would like more information, here are some great resources available: