Tips for Helping Children Cope with Change
· **Give advanced warning. Have a discussion something like, "The place where Mommy works thinks she will be a bigger help if we move to another place. We are going to look for a new house in a place called Georgia. Will you help us pick out the house?"
· **Keep as much the same as possible. During a big change, like adding a sibling to the family, try to keep as much the same as possible. For example, this is not the best time to also move your child from a crib to big bed.
· **Answer all their questions. Depending on your child’s age, he may have a lot of questions. Do your best to answer them all, even if some are repeated many times.
· **Expect that some regression may happen. At times of change, children may regress to earlier behaviors. For example, a child who was toilet trained may revert back to having accidents. This is normal – strive for patience.
·** Be accepting of grieving. Your child may go through a process that looks a lot like grieving as she navigates new waters with a new house, sibling, teacher or school. Listen, don't be too quick to distract, and at the end, remind her of all the positives.
--During times of change, a little extra attention will go a long way in helping children deal with stress. Plan an hour or a half hour each week where your child has your undivided attention. It is important to use play time to help a child's development. Let your child pick the activity or follow your child's lead. For example, if your infant wants to drop a toy over and over again from her high chair, retrieve the toy and let her drop it again. Or your preschooler wants to make cookies. Find time to do that and let him take an active role in the process even if he makes a mess. How does that help your child deal with change? Extra attention and patience from you helps your child understand that although some aspects of life are changing, your love and care remains constant.
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