9 tips to help your children with change

Preparing kids for change
Preparing kids for change(KWCH)
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 8:59 AM CDT
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As the state of Kansas is nearly ready to roll out recommendations for reopening schools, parents are deciding how they want to continue their child’s education. Some parents are waiting to hear how schools will change, while other parents are considering online and homeschool options. This decision has the potential to impact the jobs, health, and wellbeing of your family. Michelle Robertson is a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist at Friends University. She has advice for parents who are faced with difficult decisions.

  1. Parents set the tone. “If the parents are unhappy or stressed or angry, the children are likely to have some variation of that,” Robertson said. “If the parents are motivated and determined and looking at the positives, then their kids are likely to do that as well. They’re going to take the lead of their parents.”
  2. Do not be angry in front of your children. These decisions are hard and will greatly impact families. Robertson says it’s ok for parents to be angry and need to vent, but she says adults should do that in private where kids cannot hear.
  3. Speak positively about the change to your children. When you speak to your children about the changes, be calm and supportive. Although every child will experience change in some way, parents can remind kids how exciting it is to have a new teacher, new classmates, or a new schedule.
  4. Continue back to school traditions. Even if you’re looking to homeschool your child, Robertson says shopping for a new backpack and school supplies will give your child normalcy and could get them excited.
  5. High school students will go through ups and downs. Robertson uses words like “grief” and “loss” to describe how teens will feel this year. High school students look forward to sports, clubs, homecoming dances, and trips. Those might be canceled or modified this year, giving teens strong emotions several times throughout the year.
  6. Empathize with your kids. If your children, particularly teens, have a bad attitude, don’t punish them right away. Robertson encourages parents to use this as an opportunity to allow kids to open up. “Sit with them, vent with them, of course, age-appropriate, but taking care of their emotions. Don’t minimize them,” Robertson said. “They need to be angry? They need to be angry. If they need to vent, let them vent. Don’t try to minimize their feelings. Empathize with them.”
  7. Look out for changes in behavior. Acting out or acting younger than their age might be a sign that they’re trying to get a parent’s attention because they aren’t coping well with the changes. Before you scold your child, figure out if there is a problem they need to talk about.
  8. Stability at home is important. During this time of uncertainty and change, kids need to know the expectations and routines of home life. Be sure your kids clearly know house rules and know what to do if they need a parent’s help.
  9. Seek professional help. Therapists can help your family process decisions and help you decide the best choice for your family.

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