3 Quick and Easy Ways to Help Children Manage Life Transitions
We just recently moved to another state. This is stressful for all involved. My husband and I had lists of things to get done and struggled with managing what felt like a million boxes all over the place. The kids were out of their normal routine and schedule and had to deal with a distracted mom and dad. In addition they had to change houses, cities, schools, and babysitters. Everything they know has changed instantly.
Everyone felt like they were stressed and overwhelmed. The difference is that as an adult I can verbalize my feelings to my friends and my husband, my children have a harder time putting all these big feelings into words.
The only option they have is to express their feelings with behaviors. As a result they have been a little less tolerant of transitions during the day or of being offered the “wrong” snack. Sometimes they are a little rude in their demands of us. We have even had a few tantrums thrown in as the final release of all of these overwhelming up feelings.
Whether it is a move, a change in schedules, a step family, a new baby, life transitions happen. They happen all the time, but this doesn’t mean that kids don’t need extra support. Here are a few quick and easy ways to support your child.
Ask them directly how they are feeling : Depending on their age you may or may not get much out of this question. Ask anyway, this lets them know that you care about heir feelings about the changes happening. Don’t forget to validate their feelings so that they feel heard and accepted.
Give them permission to express themselves: Allow for the feelings to come out (both positive and negative). If you have young children this may be as a tantrum. Let them have the release. Stay nearby and let them know you are there and just let them express what they need to in the way that they need to. Be patient. It will pass.
Connect with your child: Your child will need extra attention. I know that during these times it is hard to connect when you also feel overwhelmed or have a lot on your plate. If you feel overwhelmed trust that your child most likely does too. Play with them, sit and read a book together, give hugs, etc. Just make sure you are connecting with them so that they know that they still have your attention and love during this time. An added bonus is that this connection will benefit you as well. It may be a great outlet for you as it will help you slow down and shift focus.
These life transitions may test your patience at times, it isn’t easy when everyone is stressed, but it will pass. Remember to be patient with yourself and your children since you all need the space to express yourselves and adjust to change.
Claudia Glassman is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Play Therapist, and Parent Coach. Mighty Oak Parenting was started as a way for her to share all the things she learned from being a therapist as well as a parent. Her vision is to share her knowledge and bring awareness to the importance of the relationship that we have with our children.
**Disclaimer: This blog is the opinion of an individual and is not to be construed as professional advice or a professional relationship. If you are seeking mental health advice contact a therapist in your area. If you are experiencing an emergency, head to your nearest emergency room or call 911