Change is Hard
Thoughts & Reflections
The start of the school year is full of change. Changing schedules, changing weather, in addition to all the unique changes in a family. Maybe you moved, just down the street or across the country. Maybe the family members are changing — a new baby, or an older sibling off to college, or a grandparent who gets to spend more time with their very favorite people. Maybe there’s a different or new or lost job, someone going back to work or changing career from working outside the home to gainfully unemployed.
Whether it’s big or small, it’s different, and different is a bit uncomfortable. Even if it’s an improvement, even if it’s the life you’ve always dreamed of, it’s unsettled. We don’t know how to do this yet. This isn’t rote yet. This isn’t routine yet.
As adults, we have the ability to see the other side. When this remodel is done we’re going to have TWO bathrooms! It’s going to be such a joy for you to have a sibling, a best friend to grow up with. I finally get to drop you off and pick you up from school, now that I’m working from home.
“Big and small, there will be natural, lovely changes, and some less pleasant ones along the way, and it’s okay.”
But a child doesn’t see that. For better or for worse, they live in this moment. They are the most mindful, experiencing what Is, and when children take such security and comfort in routine, change is more than disruptive, it’s painful.
I don’t know what to expect. When I come home and the fridge is gone, well will I come home and my family will be gone? You’re home all day now, and when you stay home there’s a party, so surely a party is happening without me, why would I want to go to school?! Nobody asked ME about this baby, and suddenly I can’t wrestle with Mom and why is she tired, this isn’t nearly as much fun as I’m used to.
It’s just not what I’m used to yet. Even if a child can’t verbalize these things, especially if a child can’t verbalize these things, they’re experiencing the discomfort. It can be the most heart-wrenching thing to watch your most treasured person in pain, and to not be able to do anything about it.
The reality is, there will be change. Even if life is wonderful, and you work hard to keep things consistent for your child, since children thrive with a routine and consistency leads to success, things will change. You’ll move to a different house. You’ll have a baby. You’ll go on vacation. You’ll grow out of your shoes and need new ones. Big and small, there will be natural, lovely changes, and some less pleasant ones along the way, and it’s okay.
We can’t avoid change. We can do something, though.
- Be aware of change, big or small, and how our child reacts to it. We’re all different, and some children are more sensitive to change than others.
- Be extra patient and gentle during times of change, and work to keep other things consistent.
- Use what you know about your child to help with coping strategies. Maybe it’s an extra book in the evening and a few more minutes for a cuddle, or going to the park for a run and a swing before heading home where we need to be quieter because there’s a baby.
- Remember that this is only temporary. Change is only uncomfortable until it’s familiar. When this is settled into the routine, it won’t be such a challenge.
- Trust yourself. Is this change taking more away than it’s giving? Only you know what’s going to work best for your family. If this is a change that is the best for your family in the long term, such as a move or a different job, wonderful. It might be hard for a short time, but it will be better overall. If this is a change that might not be working, such as a different school or care provider, maybe it’s time for a pause. You are the expert in your child — trust yourself.
The best we can do in these times of change, is to keep a child company on this journey, and to support them the best we can with our own coping skills. The only constant in life is change, and it’s all going to be okay.
Written by:Charlotte Wood