As the nomad mom, one of my constant worries is helping my little ones manage big life changes. Whether we’re moving, visiting a new place, changing schools, or visiting grandma, there seem to always be difficult transitions to manage, and I’m slowly learning how to help my kiddos manage the emotions and, now, the questions of their big life changes. Today, I’m sharing 9 mom hacks to help kids manage big life changes.
9 Mom Hacks To Help Kids Manage Big Life Changes
These are methods that we currently use for our little ones during our many big life changes.
1. Start talking about it in advance.
We always start talking about big life changes with our kids at least two to three months in advance. At first, we just mention it in passing. Our oldest generally picks up on our conversations and will eventually ask a question. Before we moved to China, one day our (then) two-year-old asked, “Is grandma too?” That was the first time I let her know, that “No,” only mom, daddy, her and her brother would be going. She hesitated for a moment and then let it go until she asked another question a few days later. Talking about things in advance allows us to slowly introduce new big life changes without upsetting daily routines.
2. Set expectations
We try to let our kids know what to expect. Even though they’re young, it still seems to help them. On our last long flight, we let our kids know we’d be on the plane for a long time (14 hours) and that they’d get to play games and watch movies all day. Except for a few toddler moments, they were fine.
3. Plan communication in advance
Knowing how to communicate with friends and family is a really a big deal for kids. Being able to continue to talk to loved ones in their new home helps them maintain a little continuity inside of a major life change.
4. Let them make decisions
Kids don’t get to make big life changes on their own. Parents tell them what’s happening. To give kids a little more agency, find areas where they can make their own choices. We allow our kids to pick items for our flight (or car ride). We let them pick their new rooms (within reason), and we help them organize their new room.
5. Make Goodbyes Intentional
Goodbyes are hard, but doing something special to say goodbye to friends and family is a big deal for our family. In the past, we’d have a dinner with our friends and family but as our kids get older, a friend suggested hosting a goodbye party to allow our family to say a proper good bye to our friends and family.
6. Create Adventures
We try to make things fun for our kids. So, if we’re in the airport, we find a way to create an adventure for them. That allows us to keep them close and calm at the same time. Plus, it’s a fun family activity that I hope they’ll remember.
7. Keep The Old & Invite The New
We move a lot, and it’s important for us to keep our kids’ lives as consistent as possible. So, we try to keep the old things that they love while allowing them to help us find new items for their rooms and for school. The same is true for making new friends and learning how our new community works. We welcome in the new, but we also set our communication plan for older friends and all of our family in advance of our move. That way, we all have an opportunity to meet new people without losing track of our friends from our previous home.
8. Keep conversations fluid and ongoing
Big life changes and family moves are stressful for everyone. As parents, we try to stay open and available for our kids to talk to us about difficulties and challenges they’re experiencing. For our little kids, generally, our conversations revolve around big emotions.
9. Invite emotion.
So we invite big emotions. Transitions are challenging, especially for little kids. When big emotions pop up, we allow them and we take them as an opportunity to ask our kids questions about their emotions.
Big life changes can be exciting, but they can also be really challenging. It’s important to have a plan in place (or at least a rough outline) for how you plan to help your family adjust to big life changes. I hope these 9 mom hacks have helped get your ideas flowing. Tell me, how do you help your little ones deal with big life changes?