Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Major life change isn’t easy for anyone. But they can be particularly jarring and disruptive to children, who thrive with consistency and regularity. Sometimes life changes are unavoidable, perhaps a job or promotion requires you and your family to move cities, or a family member gets sick and needs your care. Whatever the reason for your big changes, you don’t have to feel powerless in helping your kids manage and adjust. Here are three things you can do to help your kids as they adjust to major life changes.
Give Them Time
Just like everyone else, children need time to adjust to change. In the same way you wouldn’t expect your partner or friends to adjust to major changes in their life immediately, you also cannot expect your kids to adjust rapidly. The earlier you can tell your kids and get them ready for any expected major changes going on in your lives, the better you are helping them to adjust over a longer period. According to The Conversation, giving them time also means understanding that kids often have less restraint in expressing emotional distress and may not have the tools to deal with the adjustment perfectly well – you must understand and accept that, and not make things harder by shaming them for how they express their discomfort with change.
Talk to Them
If you want to help your kids adjust, you need to keep the lines of communication between you and your children wide open. Start the conversation early and continue having conversations about the major change so that your kids feel welcome to share their thoughts and feelings with you. According to On the Move, when making a major move, it’s important to have an open conversation with your kids. Try to explain the full reasons for the change, why it is happening, what it will be like, and allow your kids to ask questions and express their thoughts and feelings. This will help them express what they need to adjust.
Listen to Your Kids
While talking to your kids is a great first step, the next thing on the agenda is to listen right back and make the changes or give your kids the help they ask for. If your child expresses that they miss their old friends after moving away, for instance, it is not enough to just to hear your child. You must then help them make new friends or connect with their friends back home in new ways. If you can listen to what your kids say, and then try and help, you are leagues ahead of most parents.
Major life changes are not easy on anyone, but they may be the hardest on your kids. Children tend to do well with consistency, and major life changes can be very difficult for them to process and adapt to. By following these three pieces of advice, you are putting your kids in the best position possible to adapt to any major life changes they need to go through.
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