Kids are used to the security of their homes and the warmth of their parents. However, with the fast paced lives and rapidly changing lifestyles of parents, kids are often caught in situations they are not used to and are expected to adapt themselves. Sometimes, if they don’t, it creates a very stressful environment for both parents and kids. To avoid such scenarios, here are some handy tips on what parents can do help their children adapt more easily to new situations.
1. Anticipate and Prepare
If there is any major upcoming event, make the effort to anticipate how it is likely to impact the kids and take steps to ease the transition for them. There are a number of life-altering events for which we do have enough notice to prepare kids. These include moving countries/cities/houses/school, arrival of a new sibling, or a sick family member/pet. Talk to them and explain what they can expect in the coming days and that it is a part of life. It is okay to be scared and worried but whatever is happening is important and for everyone’s good. Use positive words such as “good, nice, better, beautiful, big, love, family, God, friends” in the context of the expected change to get a positive reaction from them.
Try to create an easy-going and happy atmosphere at home. Don’t emphasize any change more than required. There are some parents who start travelling with even 4-5 month old babies and some who put on hold all travel till their kids are at least toddlers. Kids who are accustomed to being in different situations are bound to handle changes well. Another way of preconditioning could be breaking the monotony of the kids’ routine once in a while and engaging them in important activities.
Exhibit restraint when dealing with cranky kids who are not prepared to adapt. Remember, anxiety is contagious. If you get anxious, kids get even more nervous and it becomes a vicious cycle. Sometimes we need to accept that kids are giving a cold response to the change but you need to stand your ground if that change is something that is important for the kid or the family. On the other hand, if that change is not immediate or something that can be avoided, give it another thought for the sake of your kids.
4. Don’t Make A Big Deal Of It
This is not to say that you teach kids to avoid situations, but, on the contrary, to make light of trying situations to an extent, so that any new situation in the offing seems no big deal to them. For instance, going to school could be an easy situation if you tell them how much you enjoyed it. However, this approach will not work in negative situations such as death and loss.
We, as adults, know from life’s experiences that ‘change is the only constant’. Despite this knowledge and the practical experience of managing change all our lives, we too get upset at times and refuse to acknowledge changing situations. So it is okay for kids to react and not accept any situation at once. We just need to make this transition smoother for them. Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for!