How to support children with change

Major milestones such as the move from kindergarten to prep mean many new experiences for you and your child. Here are four things you can do to support your child with change.

  • 17 October 2023

Major milestones such as the move from kindergarten to prep, changing classes at school, or rooms within a long day care is a transition and commencement of change for you and your child. There are things we can do to prepare children for change.

Here are four things you can do to support your child:

1. Stay positive

The way we as adults express how we deal with change or challenging situations can send messages to children on how they should react and respond. Children feel our emotions and when parents feel calm and confident, it can help them to know they are safe and secure helping them to also feel calm and confident. It can be helpful to know that there will be ups and downs with emotions, that change is challenging and that not everything will go according to plan.

During periods of change expect challenges such as changes in mood and tiredness and remember it’s okay if things aren’t perfect or don’t always go to plan. Try to focus on what’s going well, roll with the changes and stay as optimistic as you can. In doing so, you’ll set an example of resilience and help children learn how to adjust to bigger changes as they occur.

2. Discuss what the changes will look like for them and your family

Knowing what to expect helps children to feel more comfortable with new experiences. Discuss any changes to their routine such as where you will pick them up, and what steps to take if there is a sudden change are all important factors to consider. 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.

There’s nothing like having a ‘taste’ of what’s to come so that children have time to get used to the idea of change. The children at St Ann’s Kindergarten + Outside School Hours Care visit St Ann’s School in Redbank Plains. This allows children to familiarise themselves with the school grounds and school community.

3. Look for appropriate ways to provide children with some choice and control in the process

Confidence comes when the things that are important to us are respected. Children feel heard and validated when they are involved in decisions that affect them and when their opinions are valued. Look for opportunities for your child to express their own ideas. For example, they might want to select their new lunch box and water bottle for Prep. Perhaps you can involve them in creating a new routine. It may be as simple as asking them to choose which type of snack they would like to have for their morning tea or participating in making their lunch.

4. Give children time to prepare for the change

When it comes to change, it’s a good idea to start early and introduce your child to change gradually. For example, you can start changes to bedtime in advance by increasing the time by 5-10 minutes each night. Drive past their new school and point out where they will be collected if going to outside school hours care. Opportunities to become familiar with the environment, learn how to use the bubbler and where to find the bathrooms can make all the difference.

Star of the Sea Kindergarten + Outside School Hours Care at Merrimac enjoys a close relationship with the co-located Star of the Sea School.

From Term 2 the school welcomes future students onto campus on a weekly basis to participate in library, music, and playground activities giving children an opportunity to get to know their surroundings and recognise familiar faces.

It is said, that from the moment we’re born, the one constant in life is change. A planned and positive approach to change will go a long way in helping your child feel settled and confident about the journey that lies ahead.

Talk to us about our early years’ programs and how we can help your child blossom and grow, with a love of learning that will flourish through life.