September 24, 2019 — By Wendy Sachs

Fall is a time when things change, the leaves on the tree, the schedule of the days, and people in a child’s life. Whether it is starting preschool, having a different teacher, or the transition from one nanny to another, changes in relationships can be very stressful for kids.

What can we do to make things easier?

First of all make sure you are processing your own emotions. It’s a tough thing to watch your little one go into preschool or to say good bye or hello to a new nanny, even for parents! Write your feelings in a journal or find a friend who has been through this before and have a good chat. These passages are milestones that can make a parent feel anxious and that is normal. It is important, though, that feelings of nervousness isn;t transferred to your little one.

Acknowledge all the feelings. Make sure your kids, even very little ones, know that it is ok to feel scared, angry, sad as well as happy, excited and hopeful. Give kids space to be sad and share that you felt that way too, but that you also know it will be fine and there is much to look forward to.

Know that most kids won’t name the emotions they are having, so they may act out in other ways. It is common for kids to have stomach aches or some challenging behavior that has nothing to do with the transitions. Especially our littlest ones who have no idea really what they are feeling. You can try to name it to tame it- when your child is crying over something that they usually wouldn’t mind, you can say, “You are feeling sad. But maybe you are not just sad about the color of your cup. Maybe you are sad summer is over and you are nervous about preschool.”.

Find some ways to keep the focus on the good. Make a collage of things the kids want to do with the new nanny and put it up in the kitchen. Circle dates on the calendar for visiting your previous nanny. Take photos of a child’s classroom including some of the awesome toys they will get to play with. Every day, mention new fun things that happen at preschool.

The exciting thing about transitions is that they bring in new and amazing opportunities and people into our lives.