3 Things You Can Do To Help Your Grandkids Cope With Change
Change... It's the one thing we can be sure of. At the end of the long summer vacation, when the grandkids are going back to school, change is all around them. They are changing grades, teachers, maybe even schools. Friends move away and new friends may have moved in over the summer. Even the season is changing at this time of year. While it is usually a positive thing with excitement in the air, it also can be a time of uncertainty and even a little fear.
Here are three things to consider when helping your grandchild navigate the changes that are inevitable.
Choose your words carefully. Although kids may understand what is expected of them and they may appear to be calm and confident, most have worries and fears that they don't share with the adults in their lives. In order to make sure that they feel that they can be honest with you, try using language that suggests you are brainstorming solutions together instead of giving them a solution, which can sometimes come off as a command. Example: The child has expressed a concern about a new person in their class. Instead of saying "Just go up to them and introduce yourself." try an approach like "Let's think of some ways to break the ice and 'excuses' to start up a conversation." This includes them in the solution and doesn't sound like a strict directive from you.
Be the source of stability. Let's face it. Sometimes to a young mind, things seem a lot more dramatic or important than they actually are. They may start to feel like they whole world is against them and that they will never be good enough to measure up to the expectations of the world. As a grandparent, you are in a unique position to instill a sense of calm and acceptance by being steady and reassuring. Sometimes it's the words you say or a little gift you pick up that can serve as a reminder that they are enough, they are good and they can achieve. Everyone wants to have someone that believes in them and an all-knowing grandparent has a special responsibility to be a soft place to land when the world is a hard place.
Be available. When you take the time to have a conversation, not only is it great for the simple sake of the conversation, but for the less obvious, unspoken message that comes through. "Yes, I may be busy but never too busy for you." or "You are a valuable use of my time." In a world that is keen to go, go, go, achieve, outdo and over schedule, it is important to remember how to just "be." Quiet, uninterrupted time with your grandchildren is a gift that you can give them that they'll always remember. They will know that when changes come at them at the speed of light and the stresses of the world create chaos in their minds, the one thing that never changes is your love for them.