Parenting

Parenting Perspective: Dealing with change

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Change is never easy... especially not for a toddler.

Recently Sienna had a change in childcare and as a result I've noticed some changes in her. She gets a little more anxious when I leave for work, even when I leave the room, which of course is heartbreaking for me. The first few times I left, I would keep going back to her and hug her for longer which of course ended up making things worse. What was reassuring is that about five minutes after I left, she was fine.

The reality is Sienna is now old enough to know what is going on and can sense when something in her life has been altered. And there will no doubt be more changes in her young life, whether big or small. That is why establishing a routine is so important. They provide consistency and comfort. Providing structure also help with a child's self confidence which will inevitably help them adjust to change.

There's a great website out there called childcareaware.org. It gives suggestions on how to help infants and toddlers adjust to change.

First piece of advice: take it slow.

I try to spend some time with Sienna before I leave for work instead of just marching out the door. Also, try to keep nap and meal times consistent. That can be challenging with a toddler and I certainly don't believe it has to be down to the minute. But having a general time frame is a good idea. Of course having a bedtime or naptime routine always helps. It not only provides consistency but winds the child down - especially new walkers who are anxious to use every day as a new opportunity to explore.

Another piece of advice I thought was helpful is to develop a routine that lets a child know when change is coming. For example, before you leave for work sing a song to your child and do the same thing when you come home at night. Just like adults, children don't like to be surprised by change either.

Good luck!

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erin o'hearn parenting reports, parenting, erin o'hearn
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