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How to help your children cope with change

A move, new sibling or switch in schools can be hard on your little ones. When a big change occurs in their lives, it’s important to take certain steps that will help make the transition easier for them. Read on to learn more about how you can help your children cope with a major change.

Mother helping son

Signs they are struggling

An article shared by the Oregon City School District explains that children’s behaviour can change in a variety of ways when they are coping with change. They may lash out for reasons they never would in the past, or they may become more subdued and less social than they once were. They may also be prone to bouts of sadness, anger, anxiety or fear. Some children may even experience a form of regression, where they take on behaviors they had moved past long ago, such as wetting the bed or being clingy.


It is important you communicate with your children as much as possible. The more they believe they are involved in the change, the less they will feel isolated. Let your children know they can speak with you openly about whatever they are feeling. By encouraging your children to talk to you, you can decrease the chances that their emotions will get out of control and end up causing long-term damage. If they are having trouble talking to you about their feelings, encourage them to write in a journal so their emotions don’t remain bottled up.

Return their control

Often when a big change takes place, children can feel powerless. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they may be hurt that they were not consulted before such a big alteration was decided on. It’s important that their sense of control be re-established as soon as possible. If you are planning to buy a new house, let them know they can be in charge of deciding how to decorate their rooms. If they are switching schools, involve them in the planning of which route you will take to get there in the morning, deciding what backpacks will be best and choosing the foods they would like for lunches. Allowing them to make decisions can help return their sense of power, which can alleviate any tendencies to lash out if the issue goes undealt with.

Avoid other changes

One big change is enough for children. If at all possible, keep other changes to a minimum so your little ones can focus on the one at hand. Aim to maintain family routines, and emphasize aspects of life that have stayed the same. This will help them come to terms with the idea that one change doesn’t mean the end of everything else they are used to. Keep their sleeping and eating routines as regular as possible so they are in the best mindset to deal with the challenges coming their way. And most important, stay positive and encouraging. When they see you’re happy and on their side, it makes getting used the change a whole lot easier.

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