How To Help Kids Adjust To A Change In Routine

A change in routine can result from anything. The loss of a loved one, a new addition to the family, moving to a new neighbourhood, transitioning between schools, needing to see a new doctor - these are examples that all count. They can be disruptive, seen as negative, and be quite scary for a child to try and adjust to. 

These changes can’t be helped and they have to be faced! As such, to help them get through this change with as few tears as possible, put tips like those below into action. All kids learn in their own way, but the more you’re there for them, the better they’re going to adjust in the end. 

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Listen to Their Worries, Don’t Dismiss Them

Listening is something parents are quite good at, and it’s an essential practice during a routine change. No matter what’s going on, make sure your child feels they can talk about their feelings and won’t be dismissed, ignored, or told off for bringing things up. 

Let’s go through a very common example: medical appointments. It’s common for health checkups to become more common as kids get older. More dentist and doctor trips, and even sudden appointments with the emergency dentist won’t be unheard of. 

However, there’s a first time for everything, and kids aren’t fans of medical offices at the best of times! If they need to get their first filling for a cracked tooth, don’t tell them everything is going to be fine. 

Let them talk about their worries, relate to them by walking them through what’s going to happen based on your own experience, and make sure the dentist knows your child is quite nervous about their appointment. 

Build the New Habit Together

Think of a routine as a habit - habits take time to adopt in day to day life. If your child is struggling to get used to the new normal, build that habit together and show them they’re not alone in needing to adjust. 

If you’ve just moved and they have a new school to get used to, build the habit of attendance together. For example, until they get used to finding their own way to school, walk with them or drop them off near the gate. This way they get a bit of support on the journey, but can still make that final step on their own. 

Make Life a Bit More Fun

Routine changes often aren’t fun, but they can be made that way, if you deliberately try to incorporate some more enjoyment into the day. More playtimes outside, more board games inside, more ‘fun’ dinners (like pizza or hot dog), and plenty of dessert to go round. If the kids are having fun, they’re not going to think too much about how much harder life has gotten, and neither are you. 

If there’s going to be a routine change in your child’s future, take steps to help them adjust. You never know, it could help you too!