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Helping your kids navigate the detours

Disruptions to a regular routine can be unsettling and frustrating for kids of all ages.

Kids feel the emotions of the adults around them, so take time to acknowledge and regulate your own feelings about this detour. Here’s some tips for parents and caregivers as you help your kids navigate detours.  

  • Time to Prepare Talk to your child and explain the change before it happens. This gives them time to process the change and start to accept the change.
  • Listen – Encourage your child to ask questions and take time to give them answers. It’s good to give them ongoing opportunities to ask questions as they process the change.
  • Acknowledge EmotionsAsk your child to share the emotions they’re feeling. If they struggle to name their emotions, you can prompt words (angry, sad, scared, worried etc.), ask them to act out their feelings, draw them, or point to an emoji on your phone. Take care not to dismiss the emotions they share with you.
  • Give Choices Ask your child to share the emotions they’re feeling. If they struggle to name their emotions, you can prompt words (angry, sad, scared, worried etc.), ask them to act out their feelings, draw them, or point to an emoji on your phone. Take care not to dismiss the emotions they share with you.
  • Keep Routine – Consistency and stability are important to help your child navigate change. Even when change is happening, try to stick to your usual routines and schedule, especially mealtimes and bedtimes.
  • Stay Connected Even though life’s detours will also impact you and may make life busier, it’s important you stay connected with your child. Make time for them each day. Hugs, words of encouragement and affirmation, or a shared activity are great ways to stay connected.
  • Remind them of Past Changes Remind your child how they’ve successfully navigated other detours and changes in the past – first day of school, moving house, birth of a sibling, or losing a pet.

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