Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life Adjustments; How to Cope

Image source - Georgetown University Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
Life adjustments can take a lot out of an adult, so you can imagine the stress your baby, toddler, or child of any age goes through when there’s a major (or minor) life change in the works. As I stated before we had two major life changes coincide with each other; here are some of my lessons learned from what we went through this past fall.

1. Books help! Being able to talk to your children about the life change through an illustrated story book allows your child to envision the change before it happens and see themselves as the character. It also opens the child up to conversation about the life change; you can ask your child how do you think the character feels about –insert life change? How would you feel if you were doing that? Your child may also ask you questions based upon the story you’ve read together.

2. Keep your routine! They are already going through enough changes this is not the time to throw bedtimes out the window or any other time honored household routine. Sometimes it’s hard, but children respond and are comforted by routines. For me this meant that although my dining room table did not arrive until after we’d been in our new home for two weeks, we still ate together at the usual time, albeit on a big picnic blanket on the floor.

3. Create new routines! This life change may inspire or FORCE you to create new routines. Have fun incorporating them and let your children have some input on them. Do you get off of work later than usual and dinner needs to be made later? This is the perfect time to introduce “healthy snack time”, now from 5:30 until dinner’s made the kids can pick any snack off of the healthy snack pantry or refrigerator shelf. To keep your kids involved have a grocery store trip for healthy snacks and let them pick the snacks. If they pick something not so healthy, this is a perfect opportunity to teach what makes a snack healthy or a “sometimes” food.

4. Lots of love! Your children may have difficulty adjusting to this life change, you may too. Just remember that lots of love will get you through it. Make sure the hugs and kisses are readily available and make time to “check in” with your child on how they’re feeling about their new life. Together you’ll all get through it!

Next week I'll post some great books to assist with life changes for your children!

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