Helping your child deal with change

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Change is a constant. As adults we have the ability to cope with small changes in our lives easily but for the little ones it's a bit harder to deal with.

Read more: How to survive toddler tantrums
New baby? Help siblings cope

From things like a new sibling to moving house or changing school can all cause a great amount of stress to young kids which can cause them to act out in ways that can seem out of character for your otherwise pleasant child. Which can include:

  • Mood swings, often between angry and crying
  • A drop in concentration levels and grades at school.
  • Sleeping problems and nightmares
  • Sudden bed wetting
  • Stomach aches or feeling nauseous but not being sick otherwise
  • Lying
  • Bullying
  • Separation anxiety
  • Overreacting

But as parents it's our jobs to help them through these transitions to make it as easy as possible for them. Punishing them for these infractions is not going to help them but might rather do more damage. So here's how to help your child navigate the choppy waters that is change.

Millions of questions

Be prepared to be bombarded with questions. Some children feel better when they have more information regarding the situation and how it will affect them. When it's something like a new sibling assure them that you won't love them any less. To an adult it sounds like an obvious thing but a child might need this reassurance.

Routine

Try to maintain their routine as much as possible. If you're moving house try to set up their room before they arrive to the new place. Keep bath and supper time at their usual times as well as the way that they are put to sleep. Kids thrive on routine and disturbing one that is well established can add to them feeling displaced.

Warning

Give them sufficient warning that something will be happening. As an adult it takes some time to adjust to changes and it's not great when things are just sprung on you, you like to mentally prepare yourself first and kids are the same. But remember that the younger they are the worse their concept of time is. So a good idea would be to have a countdown on a calendar for them to tick off every day.

Give them time

Everyone needs time to adjust to change so be prepared for a period of tears and possibly tantrums. Change can be scary for the little ones to deal with.

Do you have any tips for helping your kids adjust to change?

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