As I was driving home tonight from my oldest preschool graduation she began crying in the backseat. She said it was her leg that hurt but I saw her fall on the playground and there was no way that was what hurt. I really think it was hard for her to comprehend that she will be moving to another class next year, with a new teacher and new kids. She is not leaving her preschool because her birthday falls just after the cut off date for going to kindergarten but most of her class is moving on. Generally she handles transitions well but this is the first big change that has happened that I think she will remember.
Many of us may be dealing with some sort of transition in our children’s lives and we need the tools on how to handle them. In my house we talk about everything. Sometimes I get short answers but I rephrase my questions until I feel that I understand what is going on. I believe the most important thing to do is keep an open line of commutation with your child. As I write this I did not get a chance to talk to my daughter about her feelings on finishing school. It was past bedtimes when we left and she was very tired crying in the backseat. I did however hold her hand and just let the quiet sink in. In the morning I will talk to her about how she felt and try to get to the root of the problem.
Another thing I have learned with big transitions, is to not say anything until close to the date that the event is going to happen. When we moved to New York, I made the mistake of telling her a couple months before. Even though she was so young she wanted to know everyday if that was the day we were moving and got very confused why it was taking so long. I realized after the fact that it would have been easier for her to know maybe a week or two before. Months is forever in a child’s mind but a week or two is a bit easier to comprehend.
Lastly, I always answer the question “why?” when I am asked about transitions in our house. Why is my friend moving? Why does so and so have to leave after their visit to our house? So on and so forth. I have learned that they cope better with change if they have a reason for why something is happening and have a little advanced warning. I know what you are thinking my child asks why to everything. I am with you. My oldest asks why and half the time doesn’t listen to the answer. But with big important things I am sure to answer every question she has. It gives her the feeling of control over her life and I never want her to feel out of control.
At the end of the day I want my children to feel secure and happy. If this means that I have to spend hours answering the same question over and over again, I do it. Or if it means that I have to hide my excitement about something big about to happen, I do it. As a parent I feel that its my job give my children the tools to handle the world out there that is not going to always be kind and wait for them to be ready for change.
Written by Jamie Jackson