I’m out of clean underwear!” my son called from the top of the stairs. “There’s a pile of clean laundry in my room,” I called back. His footsteps thundered down the hall and a few minutes later, he rushed downstairs for breakfast. “Mom,” my son said. “I liked things the way they were before you got a new job.” I sympathized, knowing it would take time to adjust to our new schedule and my kid’s added responsibilities. But he could do it. “Sorry, bud. Gotta get up earlier tomorrow.”
Change is hard. I get it. It’s hard for everyone. Whether it’s a new teacher midyear, a new addition to the family, or simply assigning new chores to the previously choreless, change can be rough. But being able to handle change has benefits that become apparent with time. Here are 3 reasons change for children is good and not something we should fear.
1. They learn new things about the world and grow in the process.
When my nephew decided he didn’t enjoy violin lessons, his mom suggested he try a new instrument. Piano didn’t work and trombone didn’t feel right, so he changed instruments again and ended up loving the drums. If he’d stuck with violin, he wouldn’t have gone through this period of discovery. Another woman I know pulled her daughter out of one school and switched her to another midyear. It wasn’t easy jumping into a new class with new faces, but the girl adapted, and it turned out to be a better school for her needs.
Change for children can be stressful, but if something isn’t going well for them, don’t be afraid to make a change or shake things up. Your child will benefit from the new experiences, and she’ll likely learn more about herself in the process.
2. They gain confidence in themselves and their capabilities.
“But how are we going to get to school?” my daughter asked when the car wouldn’t start. “We’re going to bike,” I said, finding my helmet and snapping it beneath my chin. I hid my own anxiety about navigating the route and smiled. “It’ll be fun!” To my relief, she grinned back.
Both of us gained confidence that morning. We biked almost two miles along busy roads and when we arrived at my daughter’s school, we were breathless with accomplishment. Who knew a little change in the morning routine could be so much fun? Change for children is part of life and having a good attitude about new experiences will help your child handle transitions better. Whether it’s getting braces, cutting out dairy, or, like my daughter, having to pick a new seventh-grade elective last minute, change can be another way of building confidence.
3. Kids will benefit from stronger mental health as they grow.
At age 7, my son started a new school in a Midwestern suburb. We’d come from a big city in the Northeast, so everything looked different. It took time to adjust to this change in pace, lifestyle, and culture. But it was good practice for another big change five years later when COVID forced students to learn from home. According to journalist Nicole Spector, change is “beneficial to our cognitive health” and we should try “to stimulate and encourage it.” Change is part of growing and learning about the world around us.
Change is part of growing and learning about the world around us.
Change can be hard and stressful for a child—or anyone for that matter. If a child has a disability, change may be more difficult. Many times, we don’t choose change; it just happens, and we have to deal with it. But enduring a period of change is mental strength training. The mixed feelings that come with change are often temporary and adapting to something new can stretch kids as they get older. When your child realizes she’s capable of a very tough and stressful change in her life, she becomes empowered. And that leads to an inner strength that can carry her throughout life.
Has your family experienced any change for children that has had noticeable benefits?
ASK YOUR CHILD…
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?