Dealing with change for kids: 11 great tips for parents, teachers | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Dealing with change for kids: 11 great tips for parents, teachers


This Yeshiva Elementary School article is based on advice from Dr. Michael Mazius and Dr. Craig Abrams. Rabbi Dovid Kossowsky, principal of the school, offers it to parents who move to the community and to others in transition.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 1: Any change in a person’s life is challenging and some things just take time to adjust. Not every problem can be solved immediately. Sometimes you have to let the child acclimate to the new environment.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 2: Ask the student what was it like in your old school. This demonstrates that you understand the challenge the student is experiencing and lets the student relax. If you do this in front of the student’s peers, then it helps the student’s friends understand this as well.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 3: When a child is displaying resistance, don’t require the student comply immediately, or in an exact way. Allowing the child to feel that he has some control in his life is reassuring during this time when many things are out of his control.

List Parents Yeshiva Elementary School - secondary photo

Yeshiva Elementary School seeks to provide excellence in Orthodox education. Photo by Rob Golub.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 4: Be observant for subtle signs of stress and find ways to convey to the child that the adults in her life are there to support her.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 5: All children dealing with stress need extra sensitivity, particularly when school doesn’t come easily. Adults need to be more sensitive and show as much support as possible.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 6: As children experiencing stress are very caught up in their own feelings and emotions, it is incumbent on the adults to find extra patience in dealing with them and show them extra love.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 7: When talking with a child who is experiencing stress, it is helpful to talk about a third party. The adult can say “Some children feel like this when encountering this type of situation.” It is important not to put the child on the defensive and ask him if he is feeling this way as well. Allow the child to feel comfortable and contribute his emotions on his owns terms.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 8: It can happen when a child is in a state of crisis, to ask inappropriate questions. It is very important to respond with guidance and not shock. The adult can say that such questions are not respectful, but be very careful not to assign judgement and say that good children don’t ask these type of questions or speak this way.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 9: Assigning set times for children to come and talk to a teacher or administrator, if the child wants to, takes away some of the inhibition children may feel when they need to talk to someone and they can’t bring themselves to do so. Make sure that the times are likely for the adult to be available, for example during a lunch break, recess, or at the end of school.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 10: Students who are attending a new school or classroom benefit from having clear expectation before they encounter the unknown. Often it is helpful to assign lunch buddies to help guide them during the less structured times so they know that there is someone to help them at all times.

Dealing With Change: Tip # 11: One of the most important things parents and teachers can do to help all children is to develop a healthy and supportive channel of communication with each other so they can get a better understanding of what is going on and begin to act as a team. This becomes essential for children experiencing stressful situations as they are likely to respond very differently in various situations. Only as a team will the child receive the support necessary to help her succeed.