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.
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.
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:
- 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
- Explain what is going to happen so that they can ask questions and prepare themselves for the change
- Expect to repeat number 2 at least 100 times
- Try to emphasise the positives around the period of change so that they can focus on this
- 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.