Young Children and Change

Change and the Young Child

     I would like to comment on the effects of change on children. Along with the excitement of the new school year come special challenges for young children. Change can be very difficult for some children to handle. Children are comforted by familiarity and routine. Until new routines are firmly established, small children may be somewhat disoriented or anxious. How can we make transitions easier? Plenty of planning and talking about what is to come is a big help. It is true that discussions of upcoming events can lead to pleasant anticipation, but could also cause some tears or anxiety. There is a temptation to avoid such discussions because of the reactions we anticipate, and to just hope that the child will make the transition easily. It is better, however, to have the time to work through these fears prior to a change in order to allow children to be prepared for a new situation. Surprises may cause children to fear that other unanticipated changes are around the corner, which might lead to mistrust. It is better to face the possible tears in advance and avoid the meltdown when the change actually occurs. 

Meyer Glaser, Psy.D.

School Psychologist