Child Care

Helping Children Cope with Change

Children love routines and rituals.  They like knowing what to do, where to go and what to expect.  But things in life change and that can be upsetting, especially for children.  I don’t like change, either, and PromiseLand is going through some changes.  A much-loved staff member is leaving.  One new staff person has been hired and we will soon add another new person, also.  There are many changes children go through:  moving to a new home, a new baby in the house, starting kindergarten.  We can’t avoid change, but we can help the children in our lives deal with it.


Prepare them in advance:  Talk with your child about the changes that are going to happen.  Listen to them and let them know that their feelings are important to you.  Reassure your child that even though things change they will still be loved and safe.


Listen to their concerns:  Talk to your child about how they are feeling about the change, sympathize, and say that it’s okay to be a bit nervous or worried.  Put yourself in their position and consider how it might affect them.  Make yourself available to talk over their concerns and try not to play down their worries.  They will then be more likely to confide in your about how they are feeling.


Reassurance:  Reassure your child that he or she isn’t making the change alone and they will always have you to support them.  Their life experiences are limited compared to yours and this change could feel overwhelming for them.  Sit down with your child; ask how he or she is feeling, and talk about things you can do to help.  Don’t ignore their worries.


It takes time:  Once the change has been made it may take a while for your child to get used to new routines and ways of doing it.


Help them see it as an opportunity:  If you present the change in a positive way it can help your child see the change in a better light.  Get some paper and make two headings, good and bad, and write down with your child what you think are the negative and positive aspects to the change so they know that it’s not all bad.


How children might react to change:  Children may react to the change by becoming withdrawn or uncooperative. There may be tears and tantrums. Changes can result in disturbed sleep patterns, a loss of confidence, subtle changes in behavior, a loss of attention or a reduction in academic performance.


Try to teach your children that change is a part of life. Some things change all the time, like the sky, and others never change, like their date of birth, but even the most unwelcome changes have positives.

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