Parenting: How to Help Children Weather The Storms Of Change
In the weeks leading up to having my second child, I felt a building guilt that came out of nowhere. Why would I ruin our perfect family by bringing the inevitable upheaval of a newborn into the mix? Why would I change anything when everything was going so well?
With every new stage of parenting comes change—some big and some small. Some phases of parenting bring on so many changes at once that the sometimes clear paths get muddied by all of the newness of ourselves and our children. Change may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.
In the last two years, we’ve moved, added another child to our family, and are now remodeling our house, which means that our home is in a constant state of change. From living in just one part of our house, to living in only the bedrooms, to traveling to stay with grandparents for the really messy parts, this has been a summer of flux for my kids. Add to that the fact that I am a teacher who is off for the summer, thus upsetting their normal routine of daycare, and I can say that I’ve learned a few ways to make change a bit easier on my kids and on myself.
How to Help Your Children Manage Change
Give it time.
Change itself can come quickly or slowly, but adjusting to the new state of things takes time. Make sure you give yourself and your children the luxury of having time to adjust. Don’t expect too much too soon.
Make it an adventure.
My husband is much better at this than I am, but since any change can seem frightening to kids, the language parents use can turn the change into a fun adventure. Changing the tone to one of excitement can make a world of difference in everyone’s attitudes.
Relate to their situation.
Tell stories about when you have had to weather the storms of change. My four year old loves to hear stories about when I was younger. Most changes that she has to endure, I did too. Even if I can’t remember all of the details, I tell her as much as I can about changes—when my brother was born, when we moved, when we traveled. She takes comfort in knowing that I’ve been where she is.
Read books about the change.
As an English teacher, my go-to for life lessons is books. Almost any change that your family is going through has been written about. Go to the library and get as many books as you can on the topic and read together. Whether you’re reading books about a new sibling or books about potty training, reading usually helps open the lines of communication to talk about the difficulties of the change.
Give it more time.
Some changes are easy to adapt to, some aren’t. Some kids adapt quickly to change, some don’t. Just keep doing what you are doing and know that most changes eventually leave us in better places than where we began.
How do you help your children adjust to new life situations?
Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
Sarah Dille is a mom of two great kids, wife to a serial remodeler, and a full-time English teacher. To keep her sanity, she writes about weathering the many changes of parenting and the lovable craziness of her children on her blog, Toddler Summer.
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- Parenting: How to Help Children Weather The Storms Of Change - July 24, 2012