How to Prepare Your Child for a New Year

As a new school year gets underway, your children may face changes. Do they have a new coach? New school? New teacher? Children react differently to change. One may have no trouble at all while another may have feelings of anxiety or hesitation.

What newness is your child facing this fall? Here are some ways to help them adapt to change:

Look for Sameness

Not everything has to change when there’s a change. Look for things that can stay the same. Keep pre-game or pre-practice routines the same. Keep the morning or afternoon schedule the same.

Validate Your Child’s Disappointment

Your child may grieve because they are leaving something familiar behind and heading into something new. Don’t diminish their emotions, listen to how they feel, and gently remind them of the positives.

Give Your Child a Little Extra Love

Because change can stir up feelings of uncertainty and insecurity, a little extra attention from mom and dad will help your child deal with the stress. Be intentional about spending extra time with your child in the first few weeks of newness.

Look for Ways to Help Your Child Connect

Is your child playing on a new team? Invite one or two teammates over after practice to hang out or have a team cookout at your home.

Talk Through Your Child’s Fears

Your child’s newness may come with new fears and insecurities: Will I make friends? Will I be labeled as dumb or not athletic? Stereotyped because of my size or appearance? What if I fail?

When your child is facing a new situation, it’s time for your parent radar to kick in. Observe your child’s actions, habits, reactions, and unusual behaviors, and ask questions to help them process what they are feeling.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new book, 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents, is on Amazon.

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