None of us like too much change in our lives, but when changes are afoot in a children's life it can really affect them in a big way. It is really important to try and handle any changes in a sensitive and thoughtful way, to manage it proactively and to deal with it as if you were a child, not like an adult. Here are some thoughts about helping children cope with changes in their life.
- Chat to them about the change. Choose a time when they are calm and happy and speak easily and in a supportive manner.
- Talk about what your child enjoys at school and in clubs and then talk about what they don't like. This will help them feel confident enough to chat and may unearth some interesting facts you didn't know about.
- Talk about friends and people your children play with.
- Talk to their carers in private and discuss the issues.
- Try to keep to a routine and keep things the same.
- Give plenty of reassurance.
If a child is not coping with change you may spot some of the following:
- They become clingy and fearful to leave you
- They may become panicky and breathless
- They may complain of illness and headaches
- They may become less inclined to talk and communicate
- They may loose interest in activities
- They may become bad tempered and angry
Once you have children, Christmas takes on a different focus - it's more magical, more emotive, almost certainly more expensive, but slightly unwelcome is the fact that is can be stressful because of the danger of even more children's tantrums. The excitement, the joy, the sheer exhaustion of the whole event can render the best behaved child into little monsters! So, what can we do to avoid these embarrassing meltdowns in front of the in-laws or the jealous rage just after Santa has delivered the presents? Here are a few tips!
- Tire them out! There is nothing worse than your toddler waking at 4am on Christmas morning, shouting from his bed, "Daddy, has Santa been yet?" So, make sure that on Christmas Eve you tire the kids out. Dress up warmly and go for a long walk; play some games in the park. What ever you do, just don't have a lazy day at home or they'll be up really, really early!
- Sleep time. Don't forget to try and keep to your children's normal routine, including naps and mealtimes, in order to keep their Christmas running smoothly. Don't give in to relative's pleas of keeping them up late or foregoing a nap. Stand firm and say no! Otherwise, they'll be over run with excitement and will collapse with the lack of routine and it could spoil Christmas for everyone. Keep things as "normal" as possible!
- Sweets on Christmas morning. If your children get a pile of chocolate and sweets make it clear that they can eat them, but that there are rules! Chocolate and sweets should be rationed over time and eaten later in the day. They'll last longer and you won't suffer a crazy sugar surge before breakfast that could put you all in a bad mood!
- Present mountain. It's great to have a pile of lovely gifts for your kids to open on Christmas morning. It's so nice to see their excited faces as they rip open wrapping paper. But, remember that your little ones don't necessarily need masses of expensive gifts from parents - especially if you have friends or family who'll be giving presents too. You can get some reasonably priced presents at cheaper shops which will be as exciting to open... but cost less!
- More pudding? Don't expect too much from your little ones during dinner. Sitting through a long chatty dinner is not going to be easy for them, so give them a normal portion of food and let them leave the table when they are done! No one will expect them to remain to make polite conversation while the adults finish-off their second helpings.