Whether you and your kids spend your time together going on walks, playing board games, or visiting their favorite playground, introducing new activities can be challenging for the little ones. Changes are a normal part of life through which you grow, develop, and mature. However, they are usually difficult to adapt to at first, especially if you’ve had a certain routine for quite some time.
Most adults find it tricky to accept changes, but for children it’s particularly hard. They thrive when things happen in a familiar way and they love having established routines to follow. Add to this the fact that they’re emotionally immature and you’ll see why even the slightest changes can get them off balance. For them, even positive changes will take getting used to.
As a parent, you can help your child overcome these challenges and settle into their new routine. Whether it’s divorce, starting school, becoming an older sibling, or something else they need to accept, here are some strategies to get you started.
Have plenty of patience
Children’s ability to accept change differs from an adult’s, so it’s perfectly normal for them to require more time to adjust. They may misbehave, become disobedient, or regress as a reaction to the change. They may break the rules they once followed without fussing or they may act like babies although they’re well past that stage.
While this is worrying for parents, the key is to be patient and wait it out. During this time, always be available to talk to them when they need it and never tire of explaining the new situation to them. Know that the difficulties are temporary and that they’ll be back to their old selves with your love and effort. You’ll find that children are actually pretty adaptable once you get past the initial adjustment stage.
Prepare them before the change takes place
If you know there are changes coming your way, talk about it with your children well in advance. For example, don’t wait for the new baby to come to talk to your older kid about it. Start easing them into it slowly as soon as you find out that you’re expecting.
Always focus on the positives. For instance, starting school is a monumental change in every child’s life. When you talk about school with your preschooler, make sure you emphasize how fun it’ll be for them to meet new friends and learn new things. Also, prepare them in practical ways, like teaching them the basics of reading and writing, so they have an easier time.
Get some quality time together
Children need comfort in turbulent times, so it’s important to stick together as a family and reassure them that they’re safe and loved. The more time you spend together, the more you’ll be able to pay attention to small signs of how they’re adjusting. Do the things you’ve always enjoyed doing so you keep things as normal as possible. The important thing is for you to be a unit and they’ll go through the change more easily with your full support.
Keep some familiar routines if possible
Try not to make multiple changes at once, like signing them up for new activities at the same time as moving to a new neighborhood. They may get overwhelmed and react badly. Aim to give them an opportunity to hold onto something they know. For example, even though you moved house, you can still go to bed and have meals at the same time as you used to. Apart from giving them a sense of comfort, this will also keep them physically healthy and well-rested.
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