Having routines is really helpful to children, especially having a bedtime routine that happens at around the same time, in the same order every day.
This lets them know that whatever else is changing in their life, there are things that they can rely on to always happen.
Having one-to-one calm time with a parent at the end of the day also gives children the chance to talk over any worries about what’s happening in a secure environment.
Easier said than done, of course, especially if the change that is affecting them is worrying for you as well! However, if your child sees that you can remain calm and consistent, it will send them a sign that you can cope with things changing and they don’t need to worry.
It can be tempting to try and ‘make up for’ difficult things that are happening by excusing them from behaviour you wouldn’t tolerate normally. It will actually make children feel more secure if you don’t do this and keep firm boundaries in place. This will let children know that you are still the same person and that the same things are still important.
The more you can prepare your child for the change that is happening, the easier it will be for them to deal with.
You’ll also need to allow time for children to ask the questions they need and talk about their concerns after the change has happened – often children seem fine at the time, then it’s afterwards you notice that the impact seems to hit them.
Preparation is key. For example, if they’re starting a new nursery, practising the journey there and back and talking about what they will have for lunch will help them know what to expect.
Photos and pictures can be really useful for young children – things like making a timeline of a house move with pictures of their old house and new house and the sequence in which things will happen, then sticking it up on their wall, so that they can have a visual reminder of what is going to happen when.