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How to Help Your Child Embrace Change

As much as we try to make our children’s lives safe and predictable, change is inevitable. Mighty Mommy has 5 tips to help your kids be open to change.

By
Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #316

As the saying goes, the only constant in this world is change. 

We all have a choice when it comes to change—we can dread it and live waiting for the next shoe to drop, or we can learn not to fear change but instead see it as an opportunity.

One of the greatest skills we can teach our kids is to be flexible. Change may bring uncertainty and anxiety, but when embraced with a positive outlook we can teach our kids that the changes in life, big and small, offer them the chance to grow and be prepared for all that life has to offer.

See also: 5 Things Parents Shouldn't Worry About and 6 Ways to Help Kids Conquer Worry

 

As much as we try to make our children’s lives safe and predictable, they will experience changes from time to time, sometimes dramatic changes. As parents, we can use these experiences as teaching opportunities.

Today, Mighty Mommy shares 5 ways you can help your kids be open to change. s

Tip #1: Introduce the Concept of Change

Family life is full of change so one way to get younger kids to accept that change is inevitable is to help them grasp it on a level they can relate to. 

For instance, every household has elements that scream out for a change. These include family members who make too much noise early in the morning, siblings who take each other's toys without permission, messy family members. These are things that that could use some improvement. 

On the other hand, there are aspects of our family life that feel great, such as cozy snuggle time and a story before bed or eating dinner with grandparents every Sunday. 

Sit down with your whole household and make a list of a few things each person wishes would change as well as a few things they hope will remain the same for a very long time. Explain that having a messy younger sister now doesn’t mean that when she grows, she won’t turn into a neat freak.  And even if Sunday dinners with the grandparents become less frequent when they move to a warmer climate, you can find other ways to connect on the weekends, like Skype or even taking a plane to visit them for a vacation.   

This way the kids will see that change is not necessarily bad.

Tip #2: Produce a Positive Change

Take the list you made as a family and post it in a place where everyone will see it, such as the kitchen or family room. 

Ask each of the kids to make one small suggestion that would produce a positive change for something on the list. For example, using softer voices and not turning on the TV loudly in the morning so there isn’t as much noise or asking permission to borrow a sibling’s toy or electronic device rather than just helping yourself.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, so when you notice someone in the family making an effort to bring about a positive change, make sure to praise them for trying.

Tip #3: Play a Game to Help Kids Embrace Change

Years ago I learned a simple game that really got the point of change across. It was the “Cross Your Arms” game.

After you talk to your kids about the subject of change, ask them to cross their arms. Then ask them to fold their arms the other way, the reverse of what they just did. Most likely, it is going to feel awkward.

Now you can ask them simple questions such as how did it feel when they were asked to cross their arms the other way? Did it come naturally or did they have to stop and think about it? Was it comfortable doing this differently from the normal way they cross their arms?

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All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.