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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

This example can then lead into a more engaged conversation about how we automatically do things that are comfortable for us without thinking, but when we are asked to do something differently it can cause people to resist. When a change happens, like having to move to a new house, it doesn’t feel comfortable right away because we aren’t used to the new neighborhood, the new bedroom, the new school—it feels awkward like crossing our arms the wrong way.

But over time, we begin to get used to our new surroundings and have the opportunity to meet new friends or bond with a new teacher who makes math into an adventure rather than just reading lessons from a book.

Tip #4: Honor Their Feelings

One of the reasons change can be so scary for kids (and adults too!) is the fear of the unknown. So when change comes down the pike, honor the fear, don’t dismiss it. 

For example, when a new baby is brought home from the hospital, your older child who is used to being the center of your attention will be pretty scared about sharing his parents with the new sibling, especially when all he’s ever known is being an only child. 

Let him express himself, even if that means acting out in trying to get your attention. Reassure him that you know things are not the same at home for him now. Give him a big hug and say aloud, “We know it’s different having your new sister in the house, but we love you so much and are counting on you to teach your little sister and help her get used to our family.” 

Tip #5: Make Change Into an Adventure

If children learn to see change as an adventure and an opportunity, they will have the confidence to try new things. One way to get better at embracing change is to practice doing familiar things in different ways. To do this, change up old routines and turn these rote ways into an adventure.

Some ideas include: 

  • Take new routes to school and to your activities even if it’s just changing one or two different streets.

  • Pull up a map of your town or state and pick a new place your family has never been to - then go there.

  • Try an activity, such as camping or fishing, for the first time.

  • Brush your teeth with the opposite hand for one full week.

  • Invite a neighboring family that you don’t know well to your house for dessert and coffee so the kids can hang out together and the adults can become acquainted.

  • Rearrange a room in your house or create a whole new feel by painting just one wall. Be willing to let go of things you’ve been hanging on to for no good reason.

  • Introduce a new meal to your family’s weekly menu plan. Go one step further and let the kids decide what country the dish should be from.

Even if they don’t want or didn’t ask for a certain change in their lives, when your children learn that change can be an adventure they will be open to embracing the many exciting things that life has to offer. 

How do you help your children accept change?  Share your thoughts in the Comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mightymommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.

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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.