“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6).
This is the verse that keeps me going in times of change.
Change can be hard for adults, but it can be even harder on kids. This is why it is important for us, as parents, to not fear change, but instead embrace it and teach our children how to overcome it.
Here are some ideas to help your children through periods of change:
Keep a routine
Having a routine in place is helpful in everyday parenting, but I’ve found it is key during times of adjustment.
My daughter, while still only a year and a half old, notices when her dad, who is in the military, is away for work and it definitely throws her off sometimes.
She’s at an age where she still doesn’t know how to fully process her emotions, so I try the best I can to keep her on schedule so that everything else in her life remains consistent. I find this keeps her from feeling overwhelmed.
In different circumstances, like moving, this may seem a bit difficult when you’re in the middle of a big transition. Just do what you can with what you can to keep the routine going, and don’t stress.
Times of transition are already hard as it is, so don’t put the weight of the world on your shoulders. Work together as a family to keep things going, and know that God is with you every step of the way.
Communicate with your children
It’s easy to get sucked into the craziness of change. Kids can sense when we are stressed, and it may make them less inclined to tell you about their own frustrations about the changes to come.
Set time aside to unwind with your children and listen to their feelings about what the future holds for your family. Let them know that it is OK to have mixed feelings while adjusting to a “new normal” and ask them what their concerns are.
Answer their questions and ask them if there is anything you can do to help.
For younger kids, like babies and toddlers, this can be a little trickier as they are still learning to communicate. But a way to overcome this is to “listen” by just observing their body language and behavior.
When my daughter is upset and missing her dad, it’s immediately apparent in her behavior.
It’s her way of telling me she needs me, so we do things that make her happy like dancing around to her favorite songs, or snuggling on the couch to watch her favorite movie, “Moana.”
Whether it’s reading a book or playing fun games, listen and do things with your kids that will lift their spirits up and show them they are not alone in these times of change.
Set aside a fun day with your family
Plan a day to do something out of the ordinary with your kids before big periods of adjustment. This can be a trip to the beach or movies or whatever your family enjoys.
This gives you time to strengthen your family bond and destress from all the physical and mental preparation of the upcoming change.
It’s also a great opportunity to create memories to cherish and look back on, and also discuss all the exciting possibilities the future will bring.