Helping Your Child Adjust to Big Life Changes

Helping Your Child Adjust to Big Life Changes

Change is the one constant in our life. These can be positive changes, like meeting a brand new sibling, or negative changes, like the passing of a family member. We all respond differently to change, and this is no different with your child. Although we want to protect our children from anything that may cause them discomfort, we must help them learn how to deal with change and all the feelings that they may feel.

We know that change will be a constant experience for your child as they grow. Helping your child develop the skills they need to face change head-on helps them grow emotionally and sets them up for success in their later life.

Let’s discuss how we can best prepare our children to adjust to big life changes.

1. Inform & Talk With Your Children

Children understand and know a lot more than we give them credit for. Be open with them when it comes to big changes that will affect their lives. You don’t have to go into all the details, but giving them a brief summary lets them know that something is happening and when. This allows your child time to process the news and think of any questions or concerns they want to speak with you about.

Answer all of your child’s questions as well as you can for them to understand. Your child may repeatedly ask the same questions, but have patience as they try to understand how this change will affect them and their life.

Talk about your child’s feelings. Know and understand that your child may not know how to express their emotions or even have words for their emotions. Help your child learn how to communicate by asking them questions like, “Does your tummy hurt when you think about your new school?” This provides an opportunity to talk about how this feeling is called being nervous and what steps your child can take to feel better.

Some big changes may cause your child to regress in any developmental behaviors, like potty training or wanting to use a bottle. This regression is completely normal, and you can help your child get back to where they once were by positively reinforcing the behaviors you want them to show.

2. Be Proactive & Prepare

As a parent, when you anticipate any change coming, be proactive and prepare your child as best as possible. Uncertainty can cause us to feel anxious and fearful, even when we have been down similar paths. Your child can feel these emotions even more strongly if they have never experienced an occasion like this before.

Knowing about upcoming changes can cause our emotions to feel stronger if we have time to dwell on the unknown.

If you know that your child will experience a big life change soon, like starting school, you can prepare your child by visiting their new school building. Giving your child a chance to explore their new area can be helpful when their first day of school starts. They will have some degree of familiarity when coming to their school building, and it will not be unknown and scary.

Take advantage of any open house events at the school. Having an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher gives your child a chance to meet their teacher with you close by. Again, having some familiarity with your surroundings and the people you will see can help calm any nervous feelings that may start to develop.

For younger children, starting school is one of the biggest life changes they will have encountered so far. Extra preparation, like practicing waking up and getting ready for school, will help set in place new routines. Going to the park and playing with other children will help your child learn how to introduce themselves. Learning how to fasten buttons and zippers can help squash any nervous feelings about taking bathroom breaks at school.

The more prepared your child is for change, the more readily they will accept it and take it into stride. Being well-prepared helps to alleviate any fears or nervous feelings about the unknown.

3. Stay Positive

It can be easy to get into a bad mood and react badly to a big life change that isn’t planned for. However, the best thing you can show your child is to stay positive during life changes we didn’t plan for. This helps show your child how to adapt to anything that comes their way and sets them up for success even when they are going through a change they may not enjoy.

For example, maybe your job has you relocating when you were happy in your current city. You can show that you will miss your current place of residence but that new adventures can be fun. Have your child help you research your new location and plan places to visit and tour.

Be honest with your child about your feelings. If you are nervous, you can say this, but be sure to sandwich it with a positive thought. For example, “I’m nervous about moving to a new city, but there will be so many fun things to do, and I can’t wait to do them with you.” This will model for your child that it is okay to share scared or nervous feelings but that there is always a positive way to look at things.

4. Allow Your Child Choices

Giving your child a choice and say in changes gives them control over a new situation and can help build their confidence. If you are moving, give your child some paint colors and allow them to choose their own wall color and decor. Allow your child to pick out their new school bookbag and first day of school outfit.

The more choices you can allow your child, the more control they will feel over their environment. This helps boost your child’s confidence, and they feel empowered that they can face any challenge that faces them.

5. Find Books for Similar Situations

Books on life changes can be a valuable tool for your child as they experience new situations. It will be a relief when your child sees that they are not the only ones to experience a big change in life. Books can provide comfort that someone else went through the same change, and everything ended up okay.

There are books on any big life change situation that you can think of. After reading these helpful books, talk with your child about how the characters may feel and ask your child how they would feel in the same situation. Your child will learn how to put their emotions into words and see that overcoming big life changes can be done.

6. Create Routines

Children respond well to routines. Having predictable routines allows your children to feel safe and secure, as they know what is happening during their day. When certain people, like parents or other caregivers, are a part of your child’s routines, they develop relationships with them and feel safe in those people’s presence.

When your child is adjusting to big life changes, like a move or a new sibling in the home, keeping up with consistent routines is a way for your child to have some security and comfort in their day. Even if you are in a different location, familiar objects like bedding or stuffed animals will provide a dose of normalcy.

Your child will be able to recognize that even though things may be different, they can expect the same love and care from their parents. This sense of safety can help your child feel relaxed and comforted, even if their day was filled with the unknown.

7. Maintain Healthy Sleep & Eating Habits

Keeping the same sleep and eating habits is important when your child is going through a big change. A good night’s rest is vital in positively handling stress. Keeping a healthy and consistent diet is also helpful in staying in a good mood and feeling fit. A sleepy head and empty tummy never helped with a good mood or good decision-making.

When it comes to healthy sleep, Little Yawn Collective is your go-to for sleep solutions for your child. Our melatonin-free sleep solutions help your child fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer by creating a cozy and snoozy environment.

Nervous emotions can sometimes cause tummy troubles. If your little one has a nervous tummy before going to sleep, our Calming Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops are just the ticket for helping your child to catch some restful zzzs and calm any digestive upsets.

Incorporating our Snooze Bundle is an effortless way to ensure that your child feels relaxed and ready for bed, even with big changes on the horizon. Each of our products in the Snooze Bundle is infused with our NaturalSnooze fragrance, which helps to create a cozy and snoozy sleep environment. French lavender, bergamot, and cedarwood create a dreamy mood for your child, allowing them to rest easy.

The Bottom Line

Change is inevitable. It’s how you prepare and react to change that your child watches and uses as a model to follow when they are eventually affected by their own life changes. One thing that you can keep consistent is your child’s bedtime routine to ensure that they get enough rest.

You already know the importance of a good night’s sleep for your child. They are better decision-makers, are in a better mood, and function much easier when they feel well-rested.

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we completely agree, and the proof is with our science-backed sleep solutions, keeping you confident about bedtime and calm and positive about any big life changes headed your child’s way.

Rest easy and know that sweet dreams lay ahead!

Sources:

The Importance of Schedules and Routines | ECLKC

Helping Children Deal with Change and Stress | Bright Horizons

Helping Children Cope With Change | Anita Cleare

Helping Children Deal with Change | WISC.edu

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