Cupid's Pulse Article: Parenting Tips: Help Your Kids Adapt to ChangeCupid's Pulse Article: Parenting Tips: Help Your Kids Adapt to Change

By Nicole Maher

Change can be a challenging process for people of any age, but especially for children. Whether it’s changes in family structure, moving to a new home, or switching schools, these transition periods can be tough to navigate for kids. By incorporating some of these parenting tips into the change your child is experiencing now, you will help them succeed in this new environment and teach them to adapt to different transitions in the future.

Check out these five parenting tips for helping your child adapt to change.

1. Keep some consistency: No matter your age, everyone looks for some consistency in life when they are facing a major change. To help your child navigate the beginning stages of a transition, try to keep as much consistency as possible. Do not skip out on holidays or weekly traditions just because your surroundings are different. Even little consistencies like cooking breakfast together on Sundays or watching your favorite television show together can reassure your child that not everything is going to be different. 

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2. Have a lot of patience: Even positive changes can be stressful, and whatever stress you are feeling will undoubtedly be felt by your child. Although tensions may be high throughout the family, it is important to have patience with your child, and yourself, during this transition. If you notice your child acting differently during this time, continue to correct their wrongdoings, but understand any extra outbursts may be linked to the impending change. 

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3. Use positive language: The language you use to describe the transition can have a large impact on how your child perceives what is happening. Words like “different” and “change” can be scary for young children, especially if they haven’t faced a major transition before. Try using words like “adventure” or “opportunity” to eliminate any fear in your child and show them that the change you are making is for their best interest. 

4. Provide them with an incentive: Even if you are framing this new change in a positive way, your child may still be skeptical. Providing them with an incentive can be another useful parenting tip to help them be more accepting of the change. If you are moving houses, an incentive could be that you’ll have a yard big enough for a pet. Similarly, if they are forced to change schools, an incentive could be allowing them to join a new club or sport.

5. Answer their questions honestly: While you want to keep this change as lighthearted as possible, it is still important to answer your child’s questions as honestly as possible. If your family structure is going to be permanently different as a result of this change, it is best to share this information with your child rather than stepping around it. Their age can help determine how much information you chose to share with them, but by explaining the circumstances accurately in a way they will understand, you will help them cope with difficult changes they face in the future. 

What are some other ways to help your child adapt to a change? Start a conversation in the comments below.