The children were only one and four years old when we suddenly had to move. The reality is that I wasn’t that excited about the change but I was determined to teach my children that change was as an opportunity for growth.
Since we were moving out of town, I decided to do it “in style.” Even though we only lived in the small neighborhood for less than two years, we had already made so many friends and loved our community.
So I organized a “petting zoo party” for my son’s entire class. The farewell party among the rabbits, sheep, and ponies had one simple mission: to celebrate the culmination of one chapter of our lives with grateful hearts.
Sometimes change is unavoidable and helping preschoolers cope with handling change can lead to many opportunities and life lessons.
Here are some tips on how to handle big changes such as moving or even graduating from his or her preschool program:
1-) Keep the Same Routines in the New Environment
Preschoolers thrive on routines and can be resistant to change.
Once they get settled into a new classroom, a new schedule, or a new environment, then they will know what to expect because their routine will be familiar. The routine will provide comfort and familiarity to your child and will help them to adjust.
2-) Write an “I am Grateful Journal” and Make “Thank-You Cards”
I remember the day I told both of my children about the move. I gathered the kids and asked my son, who was old enough to understand the change, to tell me things that he was grateful for.
We jotted down a list of things we were grateful for such as toys, his friends, his teachers, and his school.
Take time to write or color “thank-you cards” to the people you are leaving behind and keep your “I am Grateful Journal” to remember the lessons learned from the experience.
3-) Present the Change as an Adventure
I told my children that we were going on an adventure and I needed their help. I presented it as an opportunity, reinforcing that home is where the heart is and that the most important thing is to be together.
As an optimist, I started to see it as an opportunity and a family adventure.
Instead of focusing on the change, focus on the learning experience of the many changes you will encounter.
We studied our new home, talked about learning a new language and the chance to meet new friends.
4-) Stay Connected to Old Friends and Family Members Left Behind
We still keep in contact with some of the families we met more than 17 years ago. Friendships can last a lifetime, so allow them to keep their friends as they make new friends.
During the party, my son handed out his thank you cards to his entire class. He had so much to be grateful for. Like experiencing having Andy as his best friend, meeting so many wonderful people, and even learning English in just a couple of months.
We intentionally decided to be grateful for the lessons learned and move forward to our new adventure.
You can’t control life’s turns but you can control how you react to it. When you look at life through the lens of optimism and faith, an uncontrollable situation becomes an adventure.
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By Marnie Forestieri
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