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Whether it is a major change like starting school or moving to a new home, or a smaller one, like hosting visitors or going on vacation, change can be tough.
Change is defined as a modification, variation or deviation from the norm. It’s a disruption of routine. For children who thrive on consistency, structure and routine, change can be quite difficult. Children tend to feel safe and secure when they understand what is expected and what will happen next. Throw a wrench into their anticipated plans and you’ve created a potential for chaos.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help your child successfully handle change and even empower him to embrace it.
When change is coming….
1. Keep what you can consistent. A great general rule of thumb for helping children navigate change is to keep what you can consistent. If you can keep bedtimes and mealtimes consistent, you are ahead of the game and on track to minimize chaos. If your child is starting school, be sure to establish a firm morning and evening routine and a school drop off goodbye. Doing so will foster feelings of safety and security in your child.
2. Involve the children in age appropriate ways. When children feel involved in the process of change, they’re more likely to embrace it. If you are moving to a new home, encourage children to help pack their special things and to decorate their moving box. If they’re starting a school, allow them to help choose their school supplies or school clothes. If you’re having visitors, encourage them to make a welcome sign or to help bake cookies.
3. Breed familiarity with the new situation. If you are going on vacation, talk about where you are going, what you will be doing and show your children pictures and videos of the hotel, attractions and more. If they’ll be starting school, host a back to school party and invite classmates. Provide your children opportunities to connect with the people, places and things that they’ll be adjusting to.
4. Take one change at a time. While you can’t control the timing of everything, do what you can to limit life changing episodes. If you are moving to a new home, don’t adopt a new puppy or start potty training until well after you’ve settled into your new home and routine.
Children are resilient and will follow your lead when faced with change. If they watch you take on change with a positive attitude, chances are, they’ll have a positive attitude too.
Don't forget to sign up now! Join 14 parenting experts at the FREE telesummit HeartWise Approaches to Raising Great Kids starting January 3rd, 2012. I am thrilled to be joining 13 other inspiring presenters throughout the month of January. Sign up here to join this amazing event from the comfort of your home at HeartWiseParent.com