Change is a part of life, but the first major change in a child’s life can come as a huge shock. The way a child responds to and deals with the first big change can lead the way in how he responds to all the other kinds of change in his life. So, as parents, the more tools we can give our children to handle change and stress, the better. Here are four ways you can help your child.
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Sit and Talk
The worst thing you can do is let change happen without giving your child any prior warning. No matter how old they are, sit them down and explain as best as you can. It gives the idea time to sink in and your child time to ask you questions. By asking questions, you’ll be able to put some of your child’s fears to rest, instead of letting them stew on their own worst imaginations. Be as open as you can about the change and keep the lines of communication open as the change happens. It can also help to get your child involved. For example, if you’re moving home, your child may want a say in which room will be his.
Keep Thing Familiar
We all have our comfort zones, and for a child it’s important that there are a few familiar things around when change happens. For example, for a family going through divorce, it could be better for the children to continue living in the same place. The familiarity of their own space and their own home will be a comfort during a difficult time. Parents should also consider using Austin Kemp Divorce Solicitors to ensure everything runs smoothly and is settled as quickly as possible. The longer it takes, the more strain is put on your children.
Expect Some Bad Behavior
It’s normal for children to act out while change is happening. Young children especially, don’t have the emotional maturity to handle what they’re feeling, and often resort to bad behavior or aggression to express themselves. In toddlers, you may find that they regress for a while. For example, a toddler that has been toilet trained for a while, may go back to having a few accidents. Many parents find that these behaviors are temporary and some patience and good will towards your child will help you all through it.
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Encourage Your Child to Grieve
The grieving process can take place during a lot of different situations, including moving home, divorce and a change of schools. However, grieving is never more important than after the death of a family member or pet. People grieve differently, so it’s difficult to tell how your child should be behaving. Offer as much support as possible and talk to your child if they’re open to it. If the family member was close, like a sibling or parent, some children can benefit from counselling sessions to avoid symptoms of depression or withdrawal developing.
Helping a child with change isn’t an exact science, but your support will mean they come through it quicker.