Helping Children Cope with Life Changes
Change is something that happens as a part of life. As adults, experience and time have taught us about change and how to deal with it. Coping with change can be difficult regardless of a person’s age, however, it can be even harder for children. Life changes such as divorce, moving to a new town or starting a new job can cause stress. These kinds of changes can be difficult for both parents and children to deal with, so we will provide you with a list of the different ways that you can help your child cope with the stress related to life changes.
Speak to your Children in Advance
When you know that your changes are going to take place, make sure that you tell your child so that they have time to process how these new changes will affect them. Although your child is not able to predict how they will feel when these changes take place, it is still crucial to let them know how these new changes may affect their day to day life.
You need to be ready to listen to your child once they are ready to talk. Make sure that your child knows that you are there for them so that they feel secure. When you listen and talk to your child, remember to make eye contact with them to show them that you are interested in what they have to say.
Although this may sound simple, it’s very easy as a parent to forget that children need to talk to us about what is going on with them. It is crucial that you do not ignore any changes that are occurring in your home and expect your child to be able to work things out by themselves. Talk to your child and explain to them that you understand that it is difficult to get used to these new changes, but you are there for them every step of the way.
Children can sometimes behave negatively when they feel that something is out of their control. Children thrive off routine and don’t like not knowing what to expect. Therefore, it is worth offering children a choice between two different options. For example, ask them if they would prefer to visit the park or the library today. If you allow your children some choice, it may help them to cope with life changes and this way they will not feel that everything is out of their control.
Although your routines may now have changed, try and keep them as similar as possible. Routines help children to feel happy and secure, as a lack of structure causes children to feel lost. This will just cause more upset and stress.
It’s perfectly normal for your children to feel upset with new life changes. Children, just like adults, need to be able to express how they feel. When your child is upset, avoid telling them off as expressing their emotions is a way for them to release their frustration.