How to support children with change

Strong relationships and resilience are the key to successful transitions for children. Here are five tips for families to help manage change in their child’s life.

  • 14 November 2022

It is said, that from the moment we’re born, the one constant in life is change. And the need to navigate change and significant transitions begins early in a child’s life. Major milestones such as the move from kindergarten to prep, and even changing classes at school, or rooms at long day care are important markers in a child’s journey.

As we move toward the end of the year, families and educators across Catholic Early EdCare services will be working together to support children prepare for and adapt to change.

Catholic Early EdCare’s General Manager of Program and Practice, Kirsten Holland said it’s important to be deliberate in supporting children to manage these important end-of-year transitions, but the foundations are built all year round.

“Building a child’s resilience skills is key,” said Ms Holland.

“And at the heart of resilience is strong, trusted, supportive relationships with others. It is so important for children to know that the things that are important to them are respected, that you are here to help, and will work through this together.

“The way we as adults model how to deal with change or challenging situations is extremely influential.”

"An important aspect of resilience-building is providing opportunities for children to experience challenges. "

Ms HOLLAND

To support the transition to prep, many Catholic Early EdCare kindergartens and long day care services arrange visits to a co-located school or outside school hours care (OSHC) service. 

St Augustine’s Long Day Care + Kindergarten Centre Manager, Crystal Strudwick, had arranged an opportunity for kindergarten children to visit the OSHC and share morning tea and activities with the OSHC educators.   

“This really allowed the children to familiarise themselves with the space and the educators who will care for them when they attend OSHC next year,” said Crystal.  

“The children felt very comfortable with the OSHC team and were much more confident navigating the OSHC space. Some didn’t even want to leave!” 

There’s nothing like having a ‘taste’ of what’s to come so that the children have time to get used to the idea of change. 

Five tips for families to support children with change: 

  1. Stay positive. Children will look to you for guidance and experiment with the behaviours you model for them to recover and build resilience skills. Remember they feel our emotions. 
  2. Listen to children’s concerns and answer transparently, as many questions as possible. It’s ok not to have all the answers.  Reassure them that you will work through things together. You are here for them. 
  3. Discuss what the changes will look like for them and your family – changes to routine, where you will pick them up, and what steps to take if there is a sudden change.  Drive past the new school, point out where they will be collected if going to outside school hours care. 
  4. Look for appropriate ways to provide children with some choice and control in the process. For example, selecting their new lunch box and water bottle for prep.  
  5. Give children time to prepare for the change.