helping children with change 1 1

Helping children deal with change

Change can be difficult for anyone, but especially for young children, but helping children deal with change can be tricky as it is not always even apparent that they are struggling with it.  You might just see increased difficult behaviour, but when dealing with toddlers this could just be a normal week…  They often lack the emotional intelligence and/ or vocabulary to express how they are feeling so as is so often true parents need to be mind readers.

helping children deal with change

Over the next few weeks and months there will be some big changes in our household and it all started last week when our lovely nanny who has been with us since before I was even pregnant with the girls left us to go on maternity leave.  Now although only part time our nanny has become part of our family and a huge part of the kids world, especially for the girls with whom she spent two days per week from when they were born.  It will be a big change for me too as I literally could not have managed without her when the girls were tiny and as they have grown the time that she has been with us has given me the opportunity to continue with my CV Writing business and frankly get the space I needed from the children to stop my head from exploding!  We are actually extremely lucky to have had our nanny with us for so long and we (me especially) are really grateful for her.   We will of course still see her and are all very excited to meet her baby, but for at least the next year she won’t be with us every week.

handling change

This is the first of the changes to my twin’s world that are headed their way as in October they will also start nursery.  I hadn’t really been thinking about how this change would affect my little people until one of my little girls started to repeatedly ask me about what is going to happen and I started to understand how much this will really turn their little worlds upside down.  She keeps checking what day it is and asking me when our nanny is coming and then running through with me that she will be coming this week and then going to have her baby.  She keeps checking that we will be going to meet the baby once we get back from holiday and checking that we will be seeing our nanny then too.  This got me thinking about how I currently manage change with my children and ways of helping children deal with change.   Here are 5 things that I have come up with that seem to help:

  1. Try to understand the world from their perspective;  their world and point of view is smaller than that of an adult so even what seems like an inconsequential change to us can be huge for them.  By looking at this way we can emphathise and then think of strategies to help
  2. Explain what is going to happen so that they can ask questions and prepare themselves for the change
  3. Expect to repeat number 2 at least 100 times
  4. Try to emphasise the positives around the period of change so that they can focus on this
  5. Be ready for some tricky behaviour and try to understand that they might be struggling with the change and not just ‘being naughty’

I have been looking up handling change for kids and found that CBeebies have a great resource that gives some advice.  I, as ever, will be trying to navigate my way through this new experience in parenting the best that I can.  I have to admit that even as an adult I am not great with change.  I am hoping that by being consistent with our new routine and providing extra cuddles and support during this time of flux for them I will enable them to still feel secure and so be able to negotiate the change.  As for me dealing with this change that is quite another matter….  It might take me a minute to get used to life without our wonderful nanny.  I can’t tell you what a difference it has made to me to even just have two evenings where I don’t have to marshal the dinner time war and having another adult around who I can say ‘they are driving me mad to’ during the day has also been vital.  She will be very missed in our crazy household and we wish her so much happiness with her little one.  As for the upcoming transition to nursery I am not sure who will be most teary me or them…..  Watch this space for updates on how to help prepare toddlers for nursery.  I have done this twice before and the boys adjusted really well, but this time will be the last time I send my littles off to nursery and I fear it will be emotional.

3 Little Buttons

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

64 thoughts on “Helping children deal with change”

  1. I think we all find change a little difficult it is just some adapt a little easier than others, I bet it was hard saying goodbye to your nanny but you have some great tips and advice for anyone who is going through change with little ones x

  2. Now this sOmething that i needed to read. My little lady has lost a great-incle who sHe adored. So thats goiNg to be hard. Also the whole moVe from nursery to school too.

    1. It didn’t even dawn on me that these things would affect them so much. One of my little girls has refused to use the potty since our nanny went on mat leave so life has been very messy!

    2. pressed reply too quickly as I was trying to add: sorry for your loss and I hope your little one manages to deal with this sad time

  3. When my children were 5 & 2 i had to cope with helPing through their dad leaving the home and then the country! A year later we moved 350 miles to StaRt over. My Daughter sTruggled with it all being SLIGHTLY older but my son had me as his aNcHor And was less effected. Good luck!

  4. Ah I hope they get on ok! (I’m sure they will)
    I quite like change! I try to talk our kids through things and explain what is happening. They seem to be ok….though do get a little anxious at times.

    1. It is a challenge when one of my littles has a speech delay so can’t tell me how she is feeling. Thanks for commenting #Blogcrush

  5. I’m not good with change, but for little ones it can be even more difficult because they can’t always understand the reasons for change or the benefits. I like your point about trying to see things from their point of view (and coincidentally that’s what my latest post is all about too!). I hope your nanny enjoys her maternity leave and that your family is able to adapt quickly #blogcrush

    1. We have seen an impact namely in complete potty training regression from our little who was closest to our nanny but we will see her soon as baby arrived so we are off for cuddles! I will check out your post x

  6. Oh bless – it will be a little difficult to say goodbye i’m sure. But, loving people feel loss and it will teach them a little INDEPENDENCE perhaps (searching for silver linings). Change is a part of life and I think you are doing a terrific job of guiding them through it. xx


    1. One of my little girls has taken the change quite hard, but after a few weeks now seems to be back to normal. Thanks for being on the #DreamTeam

  8. You’re so right, the tiniest changes can seem so huge to a little one. I’m sure you’re doing a great job and they’ll get through it all. The transition to nursery was definitely harder for me than for my little girl. She loved it straight away but I was so emotional! Sometimes they’re tougher than we think! #dreamteam

    1. It will probably be the same here. I will be sobbing whilst they aren’t looking and they will love nursery ha ha! thanks for joining the #DreamTeam

  9. While hard, change is one of the only things that is actually constant. They always bounce back. They start school, change school, lose friends and make new ones. As has been said, empathise and highlight the benefits and they – and you – will be fine.

  10. everything is such a big deal to them isn’t, even things you don’t expect them to worry about. This post really sums up some good points on how to handle it! #dreamteam

  11. Change can be difficult at any age but like you said putting a focus on the positives and explaining the details can really help #DreamTeam

  12. Great advice and in a fast paced world there will be so many changes along the way. Having said that sometimes the challenges of change are very character building #DreamTeam

    1. Yes and they will have to get used to change. It is a fact of life! So far they are handling it all and are just a bit more clingy to mummy and I won’t complain about more cuddles! Thanks for being on the #DreamTeam

  13. Ben has recently had change in the form of his two little brothers. I was really worried about how he would cope with the twins but now they’re showing signs of being entertaining he’s showing interest. I think its all about letting them express themselves but also trying to explain what is happening with reassurance. #dreamteam

    1. It is so tough when twins arrive. My younger son really struggled. He was just two when the twins arrived and essentially both mummy and daddy were MIA for a bit. For him it was all about extra cuddles to reassure him. Thanks for being on the #DreamTeam

  14. It is always good to have empathy when dealing with the kids, especially through tough changes like you are experiencing. Good luck with everything, and thank you for reminding me to keep the lens of a 7 and 10 year old very handy. Lots going on… #dreamteam xoxo

    1. I do often forget to try to see it from where they are. I am someone who has always been anxious so I can remember some things as a child that scared me and actually how little they were so that helps me to empathise with them. Thanks as ever for joining the #DreamTeam

  15. Great advice about trying to see things as they do. Its easy to forget sometimes how small their little worlds and areas of experience are. THINGS THAT WE COMPLETELY TAKE FOR GRANTED AS NORMAL CAN REALLY THROW THEM OFF SOMETIMES. gOOD THING IS THAT THEY ARE ALSO MUCH MORE RESILIENT AND ABLE TO TAKE THINGS IN STRIDE THAN SOME OF US ADULTS SOMETIMES. #DREAMTEAM

    1. It is true sometimes I am amazed how they manage things like starting school, but then much smaller things can totally throw him. Thanks for being on the #DreamTeam

  16. Some great tips for managing change with Little ones.

    I hope these STRATEGIES work and help make the changes less disrupting for you and your little ones.


  17. Good luck with all the changes ahead Kirsty! I completely agree that reminding them what to expect, often, is really helpful in settling any nerves. Let us know how it all goes 🙂 Thank you for being a brilliant #dreamteam host xx

    1. Thanks lovely. It was a tricky couple of weeks after our nanny left with the girls being super clingy, but now they seem to have settled down so fingers crossed for starting nursery!! It is always my pleasure xx #DreamTeam

  18. There is nothing better than a routine to stop people from collapsing during a major change! Hope you all do wonderful with the new nursery and nanny routine. #DreamTeam

    1. Thanks lovely. One of our twins is especially attached to our nanny as she was with her lots when she was a baby as the other twin was in NICU and I couldn’t bring her there due to infection. She has had a big wobble since things changed, but now seems to be back to normal. #DreamTeam

  19. Pingback: Why I am not sending my reception children back to school - yet! - Navigating Baby

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