Helping Children Deal with Change
When change occurs in the family setting, it is important to keep what you can the same. Keeping the schedule and routine the same will help maintain stability and reduce stress for parents and children alike. Much of the time, the attitude of the adults determines the response of the children. It is important to seek professional help if you, or your child, are not able to move forward after change.
- use teachable moments
- use literature
- use “teaching your child to listen” skills
- talk about the concrete, about what can be seen; keep in mind that children have not yet developed logic
- keep details simple and repeat information
- encourage play where child act out change
- recognize when children have attention seeking behavior
New Babies: Tell the children when the mother shows. Prepare room changes prior to the birth of the baby. Visit the hospital with the children. Make sure all attention is not focused on the new baby.
Siblings: Establish rules related to family. Accept children’s feelings and give children time and space away from one another. Avoid casting roles and comparing siblings to one another. Deal with fighting and conflict.
Divorce: Be careful to separate your emotions from your child’s. Your child does not have the same feelings about their father/mother as you do. Children know what is going on, even when you think that they don’t; talk to them. If there is any domestic abuse, seek help immediately.
Remarriage: Establish prior to mixing together families how you will deal with discipline and what family rules will be followed. Hold family meetings to work through issues as they arise.