Life is full of change, big and little; positive, negative, and in-between. Most of us struggle with change because we are creatures of habit and thrive on consistency. As our children adjust to another “new” normal, it is important to remember that they may struggle with some of the changes. While many of the changes are positive, they may still feel stressed and look to us to help them manage some of these BIG emotions.
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Here are some things to remember during times of change...
Talk about it and listen to your children:
Your child might have concerns and questions. Ask them how they are feeling about going back to school or being able to play with their friends again. Offer support in the hard feelings and talk about the positives in the situation. Talk about what their day might look like, plan out new routines with them and check in to see how things are going.
Be a role model for your child. As parents and caregivers, we must put on a brave face and model appropriate responses in front of our children. For example, you can recognize how hard it is and talk about your coping strategies: “yeah, all these changes are pretty stressful, sometimes I’ll just take some deep breaths for a moment to help calm down.” Remember your role is to help manage the chaos, not join it.
That their behaviour might be “stress behaviour," not “misbehaviour.”
Sometimes, we have to become "stress detectives,” to try and figure out what the reasons could be behind our children's behaviour. Perhaps they are struggling with getting used to a new routine, maybe they are overtired or too hot. When we consider the cause, we can look at ways to lessen the stressors which will directly impact our children’s behaviour.
Teach your child tools to help them learn to manage their BIG emotions. Things like going outside, exercise, walking away from the situation and deep breathing are all great strategies to teach your child that will benefit them for years to come.
We hope this helped! If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with Natasha Horne at email@example.com