Helping Our Children Manage Change

helping_our_children_manage_changeEvery once in a while, our family goes through major changes. It doesn’t happen often and we try to keep changes to a minimum, but, on occasion, something needs to give. There have been times I have had to change our homeschooling methods or curriculum. We have changed our church, our homeschooling group, our set of friends, and, at one point, almost moved out-of-state!

Our kids, like most others, do not always handle change well. They become anxious, moody, fearful, sad, obstinate, or clingy when life goes out of balance. It is our responsibility to help our children overcome their fear and accept this new area of their lives. While each child needs to be comforted in their own way, there are a few tried-and-true helps for everyone:

We try to make ourselves available to them. No matter the change, I want to make sure they are with me through it all. Our children are encouraged to share input and thoughts; they know we are doing this together.

We talk about the changes we are going through. I am honest about my fears, anxiety, and excitement. This helps them to know they are not alone and we are going through this as a team.

We let them know they are free to talk about their worries. My kids need to know I am here to listen to their concerns and there is nothing they can’t tell me.

We help them prepare for what is ahead. We discuss expectations, encourage one another, and prepare as best as we able for the coming changes.

We try to keep everything else normal. I try not to overwhelm them with too many changes at once. (e.g. If we are changing curriculum, we keep everything else about our day normal.) This keeps life a little more stable and gives them less to worry about.

We try to keep a positive attitude about the situation. It helps my kids when I get excited about the change and I show them how much they have to look forward to.

We try to make sure they are keeping healthy. This may sound funny, but it is vital. Kids get anxious about change, which can make them sick. It helps if I keep my kids on a regular diet; making sure they get exercise and plenty of rest.

Change can be a good thing. For children, it can also be scary. How we handle change, and make ourselves available to our family is vital. May the Lord help us embrace whatever change He is bringing our way, giving Him all glory and honor through the transition.

If you’re struggling with last-minute changes in your routine, – Don’t you just love when that happens? – it might be the Lord asking you to be Open to Change. Or, perhaps, curriculum isn’t working according to plan and you need a complete overhaul? May THIS article encourage you to take a breath, seek the Lord in all things, and give Him glory through the madness.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Your Turn!: How does your family handle life changing situations?

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Open to Change, Part II

stick-in-the-mudMinute-by-minute changes in our routine are one thing, they generally affect our lives for a brief moment. But, what about those changes which are far-reaching and costly? Are we open to change when those changes stand to cost us something?

What happens when we invest a great deal of time and money into a homeschooling curriculum that just isn’t working? Do we stick with a routine we’ve established simply because we’ve dedicated hours of planning to getting down just the right schedule?

Before I scream in frustration or wallow in despair, I need to ask myself a few questions:

Did I pray about this? Before leaping into a change, I always want to pray. The Lord will help me determine whether this is just hormones speaking or the truth coming to light. (laughing)

What are my long-term goals? Do I know what I want for my family in the long run? When we envision the end goal, the hurdles are much easier to jump.

Is this change meeting those goals? By sticking with what I’m currently doing, are we able to accomplish what we set out to do? Let’s not waste time on things which do not move us toward the prize. I need to pick my battles carefully.

Could our goals be met in a better manner? Yes, this may in fact be doing the job, but is it doing it well? If a better plan comes along, I need to be open to change.

Am I one with my spouse on this issue? As always, what does my husband have to say on this matter? I don’t want to fight for constancy or change, if I am fighting alone. I need to be sure we are one on whatever the issue may be and then we move forward together.

Is there someone who could help me with perspective? Change can be hard, especially when the consequences are far-reaching. Instead of making a blind leap into the unknown, it might be in my best interest to seek counsel on this matter from someone who has been here before.

Change is always a hard one for me, but by focusing on what’s important, being one with my man, and seeking the Lord in all things, change definitely becomes a little easier.

Time to Chime In: What is the biggest change you’ve ever made mid-year into your homeschooling routine? (I know some of you have changed states!! That’s pretty big!)

Open to Change

stick-in-the-mudI think I must be a stick in the mud. Once I have set myself down, getting me to move can be a little difficult. It’s not that I dislike change, but once I have my mind set in a particular direction, it can be challenging to redirect myself. One lesson I’m learning over the years is that I need to be open to change.

Change can be a beautiful thing, it really can; it offers new perspective, fun opportunities, and teaches many lessons. However, for someone who tends to be OCD, change cannot only be a little scary, but full of tension.

The hardest area of change for me… last-minute, day-to-day changes. It’s hard enough getting a stick in the mud to move slowly toward a new goal, but ask that stick to immediately shift into a new position and you are going to hear squeals of protest. (laughing) What helps me make those necessary, last-minute changes? Well, I…

Breathe – I try not to react, but simply take a deep breath. This helps me flush out the emotions willing to rush to the forefront of my mind, and allows me a moment to gain perspective of the situation.

Pray – If I can remember – I admit I don’t always do this when I should – I ask the Lord to help me through the situation. He knows what is best for my family and what I need to handle this in the best manner.

Listen – I cannot make a sound decision if I haven’t taken the time to listen fully to what’s needed.

Determine What’s Important – At that given moment, what is most important? Is it keeping to my schedule, dealing with my child’s character, running that errand for my husband, taking a last-minute field trip, or even having a necessary nap? What needs to take precedent; what can’t wait?

Reevaluate – Once my emotions are under control and I have fully understood what is happening, I do my best to evaluate the circumstances and decide the best way in which to tackle this new angle of life. Evaluating a curve ball can be tough sometimes!

Move Forward – Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. Once I have my answer, I need to move forward with confidence, knowing God will provide.

With practice and patience, this stick in the mud is learning to be flexible. It isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. After all, either I can bend or I can break. Personally, I’d rather bend; wouldn’t you?

Time to Chime In: Do you ever wish you could just stamp your feet and growl like a bear to help rid yourself of tension? (laughing) What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done to help relieve stress?