Parenting with Insight: How You Can Help Your Child Deal with Change
Despite change being a part of life, dealing with it can be challenging. Children especially have a difficult time coping with change because it can shake their sense of security. As a parent, it’s your privilege to help your child deal with change and manage associated stress and anxiety in a positive way. Yet, this can sometimes be easier said than done.
After all, if your child is dealing with change there’s a good chance that you are as well.
Here are a few insightful parenting tips to help your child deal with change.
Set a Good Example
With change often comes stress and anxiety, as mentioned before. Often, these feelings can be overwhelming to both adults and children alike.
To help your child deal with change, it’s vital to cope with your own stress and anxiety in a productive way. As a result, your child will take cues from you on how to feel better themselves.
For example, relocating can be a high-stress time. So, how do you respond when all the boxes and misplaced items start getting on your nerves?
Your child will likely mirror the way you respond to these emotional triggers and stimuli. Be sure to set a good example of regulating your emotions, even when the situation may be difficult for you, too.
Offer Age-Appropriate Explanations
Change comes in all forms—a friend moving away, changing schools, divorce, relocation, a new teacher, parents changing jobs, etc.
Keep in mind that every child will respond to these changes in their own unique way. Even in the same family, siblings respond differently.
To best help your child deal with change, try to explain exactly what’s going to happen during the change. Be sure to make your explanation appropriate for your child’s age, too.
For example, perhaps you were promoted at work, bumping your shift up by one hour on both ends.
Explaining this to your five-year-old means talking about how it’s going to impact their breakfast routine as well as their after-school routine—two very big transitional times in a young child’s daily routine.
Stick to Your Routine
It may sound funny, encouraging you to stick to your routine when obviously undergoing a life change means some type of routine change as well.
Nevertheless, any part of the routine you can stick to, do so.
Maybe a part of your daily routine is eating breakfast with your child each morning. Even with the job change scenario, it may be possible for you to eat a little later and your child eat a little earlier, continuing to embrace that daily tradition.
As you may know, children thrive on routines. By sticking to as much of your old routine as possible, it instills a sense of security in your child.
Although it may not seem significant to you, children perceive things differently, and it may be incredibly important to them.
Deal with Change Alongside Your Child
Most importantly, be supportive of your child as they deal with change. Some children are resilient, responding positively to change. Others have a more difficult time with it.
Whatever the case may be with your child, do what you can to emotionally uphold them as they learn to adjust.
Remember to let them know that you’re in this life change together—bumps and all.
For example, if one of their friends moves away, practice empathy and compassion. Talk with your child about how they feel. Validate their emotions and encourage them to express themselves by asking open-ended questions.
Simply having a parent in their corner will uplift and help your child deal with change in profound ways.
Dealing with change can be difficult for anyone. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed during such times. A therapist can help you and your child work through the changes together.
If you need support to help your child deal with change, please reach out to us today. Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, TX has qualified and experienced child counselors and family counselors that can help your family cope with change. Call us today at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.
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Tags: child counseling