In the first family survey that was sent out, we asked you to tell us what you would ask a child development expert if given the opportunity. We received some great (and challenging) questions that we want to share and help answer using the knowledge and expertise that we have here at UCCC. This is the seventh installment in this series. If you want to catch up on the last six posts, you can find them here, here, here, here, here, and here.
“Goodbye Milky Ways, Goodbye Horizons, Goodbye Starbursts, Goodbye to UCCC.”
Our teachers use versions of this song to help children make different transitions. It represents the importance of being able to say goodbye and to know what goodbye means. Now is a time of many transitions at UCCC. Many of our children are leaving for a new experience in kindergarten. Others are moving on to join their siblings at a private or district school and many are moving to a new classroom within UCCC.
This also means that we are nearing UCCC’s First Day of School. Though we are a year round program, this is an important marker for children to experience the passage of time, the cycle of the year, community celebrations, and a period of resetting, moving forward, and changing.
Whether your child is leaving or staying, their classroom is changing as some old friends are moving and new friends are starting. This is an opportunity for your child to build some resilience and practice the art of transition which they will experience throughout their lives.
Here are some tips for supporting your child in any transition.
· Understand that how transitions affect children can depend greatly on their age, temperament, personality, and previous experiences. Listen for their verbal and non-verbal cues to let you know the support that they need.
· Communicate. Provide children with factual, developmentally appropriate information in a timely manner. Children need time and opportunity to process information and ask questions.
· Be empathetic and respect children’s feelings. Allowing children to work through their feelings supports the child in developing empathy and compassion and an understanding of how to deal with changes.
· Provide as much consistency as possible in other areas of life to help the child continue to feel safe and secure.
· Allow opportunities for children to read books about, role play, write, or draw about the transition. This gives children the opportunity to prepare, explore their feelings, and ask questions.
· Understand your own feelings about transitions. Often how we deal with change impacts how we support our children. Be aware of your own reactions and the support you need as well.
Change is hard for everyone, but being able to go through changes in the context of a supportive and nurturing relationships provides just the right amount of stress to build resilience.
Post by Jessica Sims