Change – New Opportunities
Life is change.
Nothing stays the same, no matter how hard we try to freeze or recreate the special moments and wonderful events that we share with loved ones. We are always transitioning from one life stage to another, from familiar contexts to new ones, from relationships to solitude or to new relationships, learning to let go of the old and becoming familiar and embracing the new.
We as parents, want only the best for our children. We are searching for the best foods, best clothes and the best housing we can afford. Our quest for perfection doesn’t stop here, we make sure that when they join a Krippe or Kita they will benefit from the most supportive, encouraging and balanced environment that will help them thrive and grow. Unfortunately, there are a few aspects that interfere with parenting, that go beyond our power and bring out deep frustrations and anxieties: changing jobs, apartments and schools, friends who leave, new teachers coming or old ones leaving, are just a few examples of “changes” that our children might be exposed to from a very early age. However unpleasant and anxiety-provoking changes might be, change is a process that has a great learning potential for both children and their parents.
I remember how inexperienced and nervous I was, when my first child was assigned to a new teacher and I could totally understand the parents’ anguish and fear of the unknown. After all, parents entrust their child’s care and social experience to their child’s teacher or teachers. Every person comes with his or her knowledge, experience and personality and children are challenged by the newness of it all. They will try to find the perfect way to relate to the new person, new ways to express their needs, desires and to build meaningful relationships. These are all valuable lessons that will help children become more aware of themselves and others.
Here are some rules that we could follow for a smooth transition:
Allow Time for Readjustment, children need time to adjust to the change. They need time to rebuild the relationship and everybody has his/her own rhythm.
Keep Your Kids Involved, understand that your children may be anxious and explain them that it’s also a new situation for the teacher. Everyone is nervous and this is okay.
Give Your Children a Feeling of Control, many children are more receptive to change when they feel in control. Encourage your child to take an active role in helping the new teacher adjust to the new environment. This might be a wonderful self-esteem boosting strategy, children will see themselves as able to help, able to give advice they will move from the receiving end upwards and this could only increase their self-confidence.
Be Relaxed, small children especially cannot understand the context that they are in and they always rely on our reactions to understand the potential dangers. Anxiety is highly contagious, an anxious parent will produce a more anxious child who will be less able to adapt to new situations and people.
“Life is change, growth is optional, choose wisely” (Karen Keiser Klark)
Raluca is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and the mother of two wonderful daughters. Originally from Romania, Raluca lived in Japan and the U.K. before relocating with her family to Zurich in 2012. She collaborates with our daycare, offering counseling and organizing support groups for parents and children.