Helping kids ease into new routines
September is here and with it comes a sense of transition and change for our family. Some of the change is welcome and expected like the start of school and the change of weather from the heat of summer to cooler, breezier days. But change can also bring a sense of insecurity and fear for children, especially with new routines with a new school year and new people to meet. This month we focus on books about kids navigating different transitions: a new baby, moving to a new house, and starting a new school.
To help your child ease into a new situation or routine:
- Communicate clearly what will happen and how long it will last
- Use a transition object or toy to make them feel more comfortable in their new environment
- Don’t rush: give lots of extra time to make transitions that are likely to be difficult for your child and plan for extra hugs & snuggles
- Focus on the positive and the new things you get to do, instead of the things that you will miss
- Practice! Pretend play the scenario so they have a better idea of what to expect & how to respond
- Tell stories: reminisce about a time YOU had to go through a similar change and how it made you feel, then read some books about kids going through the same experience and overcoming their fears
By Lauren Stringer
This beautifully illustrated book is a celebration of autumn, when the world begins to change color. It acknowledges that some things are lost – birds fly south, leaves blow away – but it only happens once a year and there are so many things to enjoy. It makes you want to run outside and enjoy the cool, yellow days before they’re gone.
The Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn
It’s Back to School time in the forest, but Chester Raccoon doesn’t want to go. His mother has a special “secret” that will help him to feel safe and reassured as he ventures off to school. This sweet story is a fantastic way to help children transition to any activity where they have to leave home.
Before I Leave
by Jessica Bagley
Little hedgehog is moving and her best friend says it will be ok, but she’s not so sure. It seems so far away and she will miss all the fun things they do together. With heartwarming illustrations and a simple story, children will be reassured that even when things change, a friend’s love stays the same.
Pecan Pie Baby
By Jacqueline Woodson
A new baby is coming and Gia is worried. She likes her cozy life with Mama and doesn’t want that to change. But Mama knows just what to say to reassure her that their new life together will be sweet, just like pecan pie.
Change is hard for grown-ups, and it is certainly hard for kids, but taking the time to prepare as a family and sharing some good books can help make the transition smoother for everyone.