Strategies for Helping Children Cope With Change

Little girl reading a book

Change is an unavoidable part of life, and we must all confront it at some time.

Change, however, can be especially difficult for youngsters, since a lot of the time, they lack the cognitive and emotional maturity to deal with it successfully.

It's not their fault though, without much experience in any area of life, these children aren't to blame for not understanding.

We, as caretakers need to do a better job of helping them to understand the change.

While it may be tough for children to face, whether it be a transfer to a new residence, a new school, or the arrival of a new family member.

It is our obligation as parents to assist our children cope with change in a healthy way.

In this blog article, we'll look into the psychological impact of change on the child along with several different ways for assisting our youngsters in dealing with this change.


Children Therapists in Colorado

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Melissa Peterson, LPC

Melissa Peterson, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Margot Bean, LCSW

Margot Bean, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424

Psychological Impact on Children

Before we go into the methods for helping them deal with the change, let's first examine what occurs in the small, developing brain of a youngster, when major shift events occur in their lives.

Children rely on regularity and consistency, and any interruption can create worry and anxiety, and with limited experience dealing with situations like this, they will feel like their whole world is crashing down around them.

They may even feel like they are to blame for this huge shift happening to them.

Change can also lead a kid to experience feelings of loss or sadness, particularly if they are leaving behind friends, a familiar setting, or a routine to which they are used.

During times of transition, it is typical for children to feel angry, unhappy, or even guilty.

As parents, it is critical to recognize and affirm these feelings to assist our children manage them.

The worst thing we can do as parents and caretakers is to miss an emotion or thought that will have a snowball effect and potentially redirect the trajectory of a child's life.

Different studies have taught us that early stress hormone activation can impair neuronal connections in the thinking part of the brain dedicated to learning and reasoning, decreasing cognitive function.

Continuous trauma can diminish existing neural networks to your brain's thinking half, while strengthening neural pathways to your brain's survival half, bypassing the thinking section and making some youngsters less capable of coping with hardship as they develop.

This really should lead us to pay more attention to our children and how they are reacting to the changes in their environment and to question if they are coping healthily, and if there is anything we can do to help them better understand the situation.

Strategies for Helping the Child Cope

Like most other problematic areas within a child's life, communication is essential in assisting children in coping with change.

It is critical to explain to your child what, and why things are happening and to do it in a way that they can comprehend.

Be open and honest, but also sympathetic and supportive.

It's important to address your child in a loving way and ask them how they feel instead of telling them how they should feel.

While you still have to play the role of a parent or caretaker, you want to address this delicate situation in as much of a loving way as possible.

Encourage your kid to share their thoughts and worries, and be willing to respond to their inquiries.

Maintain consistency: While certain changes may disturb your child's routine, strive to keep it as consistent as possible.

Maintain their usual dinner and sleep routines, as well as other activities.

This might provide your youngster with a feeling of normalcy and security during times of transition.


A Few More

Reassure your youngster that the shift is not their fault and that they are not alone.

Tell them you're there for them and that you'll work through the transition together.

Give them lots of hugs, attention, and support to make them feel safe.

This is a good time to grow even closer to your child, as they will need more stability and love than ever.

Encourage participation: If feasible, include your youngster in decision-making.

Allow your youngster to assist you with packing and selecting their new bedroom, for example, if you are moving to a new property.

This might help your youngster feel more in control and ownership of the situation.

This can also be a fun bonding activity and learning opportunity for them.

Seek professional assistance: If you see that your kid is having difficulty coping with change or is displaying indications of anxiety or sadness, you should consider obtaining professional support.

A therapist or counselor may assist your child in processing their feelings and developing good coping mechanisms.

A professional will also have tips and tricks that you may not have access to.

With years of experience, they will know exactly what to say to your child and you may even realize you enjoy the professional help as well.

Being a parent and dealing with change can be equally as difficult, so remember to care for your own mental health as well, super parent.

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Conclusion

Children can struggle with change, but with the correct tools and knowledge, we can help them learn from the situation, grow, and even become stronger than they were before.

Remember to talk freely and honestly with your kid, while they may not be full-fledged adults, they certainly aren't babies anymore and a little respect will gain you a lot of confidence in them.

Also, it's key to stick to a schedule as it will create stability in their lives, which children thrive off of.

Give comfort and support and promote participation, you can use this experience to teach them and help them mature in more than one way.

Finally, always realize it's a great idea to seek professional help when you deem it necessary. Your child may learn to cope with change and emerge stronger and more resilient with these methods in place.

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June 18th, 2024

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