10 Ways to Support Your Children Through Times Of Change

Supporting Children Through ChangeAt times we make big changes in our lives and we plan around how we can manage these changes for us as adults. However, it is important also to explore what changes are taking place for your child and to support them through this.

At times children don’t react to change immediately but a little later on. This can even be a few months in, when they realise the change is permanent.

There are many things to watch out for in children during times of change such as:

  • Change in sleeping pattern.
  • Crying more than normal.
  • Feeling that other children are not their friend – a shift in their level of confidence.
  • Developing behaviours such as phobias and generally a change in behaviour.
  • Difficulty cooperating.
  • Becoming clingy.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Many others, as each child is unique and will respond in many different ways.

This week in our ’10 Ways to’ series, we offer five guidelines for times when you know that change is on the way and five for dealing with sudden changes.

If you are aware that change is on the way try to follow these five simple guidelines:

  1. Talk with your child about the changes ahead and ask them how they feel about it.
  2. Try not to fix it. Listen and explore their fears and anxieties.
  3. Try to understand their needs and think of ways you can support their needs to be met. Keep talking with your child, they forget and at times don’t understand exactly what you mean.
  4. Give your child extra time during these periods. Try to give them more one to one time so they have time to talk with you and stay connected. We can often be more busy ourselves during times of change but children need our focused time.
  5. Involve your child as much as you can in what is happening. Help them to understand what the change is and why the change is taking place.

If change happens suddenly then the key factor again is to talk with your child. Here are five guidelines to help support your child during times of sudden change:

  1. Try to explain why the change is happening.
  2. Try to give them space to explore feelings. You may be upset about the change so be sure it will affect your child also. Even if the change is not impacting on them, the change in how you are will.
  3. Check in with your chid regularly around how they are.
  4. Reflect on any changes you have noticed in them. Do not ignore behaviours and get into punishments and consequences. Think about what the child is trying to tell you through their behaviours. Remember all behaviour makes sense. What is the sense of this behaviour?
  5. Be patient with children, it can take time to adapt to change.

Change is good for children at times; it’s good for us all. It can help us see that we can cope and things will be alright. At times however change has great impact on us. We may not even be fully aware of the impact. Try to take time to reflect on your needs as well as your child’s needs. Talk with people involved in your child’s life about the changes taking place so they can also support your child at this time. Remember children can be impacted by any type of change:

  • Losing a friend due to moving away
  • Moving house
  • Starting school
  • New minders
  • Not seeing family members as much as they use too
  • Parents going back to work or starting work
  • Change in the routine at home
  • Loss of someone through death
  • A parent leaving the family home
  • A change in parent’s behaviour
  • Stressed parents
  • A new sibling and so much more…

If after a long period of time, over six months or a year you feel your child has not adapted or learned to cope with the changes that have happened it may be worthwhile exploring supports outside of the family. There are many things such as art and play therapy that can really support children. Also by accessing support as the parent you may develop skills which will help you support your child and understand why they are struggling with the changes.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on this topic on Monday 30 January from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook page. Join in and post your question.

Next you might like to read 10 Ways to Develop Coping Skills In Your Family. 

Coming up next week: 10 Ways to Find Support When you Feel Like Giving Up.  

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Safety Out and About

10 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe When Out and About

Safety Out and AboutBeing out and about shopping with young children can be stressful. This week in our ’10 Ways to’ parenting tips series, we explore some tips that will help you keep them safe.

  1. Talk with children once they start to develop language skills about where they live, their phone number and parent’s name.
  2. Help your child recognise staff members in large shops. Point out uniforms and other identifiers. help them to understand that if they lose sight of their parent/carer that they should only talk with a staff member.
  3. For young children it can be useful for them to wear a wristband with your phone number on it as sometimes people may not understand what they are saying or your child may be too scared to tell them anything.
  4. Always talk with children about strangers; these are men, women and children. Help them to understand that they do not talk with strangers and should never go anywhere with them no matter how attractive it may seem.
  5. For young children, especially those under two years of age, it is best to keep them in a buggie when in large shops, malls or streets. They may not love the idea, but they can go missing in minutes otherwise. Help them enjoy the trip with small breaks from the buggie to eat and for hugs, but secure them in the buggie otherwise.
  6. For children who have outgrown the buggie it is very useful to use a wrist harness. It can be hard to hold hands all the time especially if you’re carrying bags. Talk with your child about the purpose of the harness, to keep them safe.
  7. Once you enter the shopping centre, show your child a clear place that they should go to if separated from you; for example, a security desk or any brightly coloured or unusual feature that stands out. This place needs to be easily spotted when looking up from your child’s height so crouch down beside them when showing them this spot. Children will not see which way to go if you choose a location which they can’t see from looking up.  They need to be able to see past the crowd.
  8. Explain to your child that if they do get lost to just to stay still and not move about at first, and that they must always answer you when you call their name. Then you can go back to the places you have been and hopefully locate them. Children can at times hide in clothes or toys and in shelves; there is so much to distract them in busy shops. Help them to understand that this may be good fun but when they do this, you cannot see them.
  9. Maybe let your child have a whistle, or if old enough to use a phone, perhaps they could have one to use when out and about. Your number can be pre-programmed on quick dial. This may support you finding them sooner.
  10. If your child does get separated from you, inform staff immediately. Do not hesitate. Do not feel you need to wait and look yourself first. Get help from the staff straight away.

LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on the topic of safety when out and about on Monday 12 January from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook page. Join in and post your question.

Next you might like to read 10 ways to Develop Playtime with your Child or 10 ways to Be More Socially Engaged 

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming soon: 10 Ways to Talk with Children About Death.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

10 Ways to Develop New Parenting Routines

Setting RoutinesA new year has arrived and with it, an ideal opportunity to explore family routines. Following consistency in routines supports parenting and increases your child’s sense of well-being and security. Last week in our weekly ’10 Ways to’ parenting tips series, we explored how to Make Positive Parenting Changes in 2015 so this week is a good time to continue consider your family’s routines and any changes you would like to make.

  1. Think about how and why routines are useful.  Maintaining clear routines in the home supports children’s well being in many ways. Children like to know what to expect in the form of activities and behaviours. Routine helps us as parents too, and can increase harmony in the home, reduce stress and increase productivity and a sense of achievement and connection.
  2. Children usually have a very clear routine from birth around feeding, sleeping and nappy time. Sometimes as our children grow we rigidly continue with routines in these areas but often times we don’t. Think about what routines you currently follow.
  3. Explore any parts of the day when you have a good routine in place that works for all, for example, perhaps the getting to school schedule flows perfectly every morning. What does this do for you and your children? Do you find that things run smoother at these times and everyone gets on well?
  4. What happens at the times you don’t have a clear routine in place, for example, perhaps the homework routine? What impact does this have? Children and parents can get confused, frustrated or anxious when we don’t know what to expect which can lead to challenging behaviours.
  5. It is important to have consistent routines around not only eating and sleeping and practical schedules, but around behaviours also.
  6. It is your job to implement the routine, but your children need to know and understand it. Talk with children about routines and how they help. Allow them have a voice in what works and doesn’t work for them.
  7. As seasons change and children grow, routines will change too. Be open to this change. If a plan is not working, even if it used to, then stop doing it. Review it with your children, build on it and make a new plan. As the parent, ensure you follow through.
  8. Some people very much resist routine. Explore why this is the case. Think about what your child needs. Most children need security and this can often be achieved through clear routines. Following routines does not mean you have to be rigid; you can be flexible, but ensure your child knows why a change in the routine is occurring. Some children do well with change and others do not.
  9. Think about your own life, separate to being a parent. What routines are in place for you? What happens when you can’t follow the routine? Sometimes it means your needs are not met, which in turns affects how you are, how you can cope, and how you parent.
  10. Talk with your children about routines this week. What is working now and what doesn’t work so well? Agree some new routines for 2015 and then look back later in the year to see how they have hopefully helped to improve happiness and harmony in your home.

Next you might like to read 10 Ways to Develop Family Rituals and Traditions, 10 Ways to Establish a Bedtime Routine or 10 Ways to Run a Family Meeting.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming soon: 10 Ways to Ensure Safety When Out and About and 10 Ways to Talk With Children About Death.

LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on 5 January from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook pageJoin in and post your questions.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

10 Ways to Make Christmas Stress Free

Christmas cup of teaChristmas can be a time of great pressure for many parents, meaning that stress can take much of the enjoyment away. It’s important to stop and ask why this is. Is it possible that we’re causing some of it ourselves by not managing expectations – our own and others, including our child’s. Why not aim to simplify Christmas this year by taking time to reduce stress, expense and over-the-top traditions. This week ’10 Ways’ in our parenting tips series becomes ’12 Ways’ as we explore how you can plan to make Christmas less stressful and more fun.Start budgeting and planning everything early on.

 

  1. Encourage children to write their letter to Santa in early November.Encourage them to ask for one special gift and a surprise. It’s not helpful to children to allow them to think they can have everything they want. Remember they must share all of the gifts Santa has with other children.
  2. Once you know what your child wants, try to seek out the best price you can, as early as you can (to help Santa). Use shops, internet shopping and the many sites that list classified ads. Often new toys are sold on these sites at bargain prices.
  3. It’s essential to spend what you can afford. Do not put yourself into debt for Christmas. All parents know that children often don’t play with half of what they get or value the extra things they didn’t ask for.
  4. Do your shopping as early as you can before the shops get really busy. Take a morning off when the children are in school to get some important shopping done.
  5. Children remember more about what you do as a family at Christmas than the gifts they receive. In next week’s 10 Ways to, we’ll explore ideas on creating family traditions.
  6. Agree with family members to only buy gifts for children or not at all. Children will usually get more than enough from Santa. Maybe plan a day out instead with friends and family.
  7. Or you could suggest a Kris Kindle so that everyone gets a gift without the costs getting so high, or agree on getting birthday presents instead throughout the year. Most people struggle with the cost of Christmas, your family will probably be delighted to hear such suggestions.
  8. Encourage family, especially grand-parents, to ask you for ideas so your child gets a gift they want. This takes the pressure off Santa.
  9. We all buy too much food at Christmas. Plan Christmas dinner and a few treats. Often the left overs do perfectly well the next day (or days!). Be realistic. Remember that the shops re-open on the 26th; there’s no need to stock up for two weeks as we often try to.
  10. Try to enjoy the build up to Christmas. Children usually love this time of year. It’s about family and fun together, try to keep it that way. Shop as little as you can. Enjoy the atmosphere and the cosy evenings at home.

Next you might like to read 10 Ways to Achieve Successful Shared Parenting at Christmas.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on how to reduce stress over Christmas on Monday 1 December from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook page. Join in and post your questions.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Girl in sun

10 Ways to Keep Your Children Safe in the Sun

Summer is here, and everyone loves a nice day outside in the sunshine. While summer can be full of fun, it is not without risk: the sun, the heat, bugs and pools can be dangerous to your child, so make sure you know how to look out for them while still having a good time this summer. As part of our weekly series of parenting tips, here are 10 tips for keeping your children safe in the sun.

  1. Dress children in layers of light clothes, taking off one layer at a time. Babies can overheat very quickly, so dress them in light cottons this time of year.
  2. Always apply sun cream. Cover children from head to toe before dressing them and top up throughout the day.
  3. Insect repellent can be very useful if children are in the gardens a lot.
  4. Always get children to wear sunhats.
  5. Sunglasses and shades on babies’ buggies are very important.
  6. Supervise paddling pools every minute children are around them. Never leave the water in them and let children out to play alone.
  7. Keep babies out of the direct sun at all times and keep young children indoors in the high temperatures.
  8. Encourage children to drink plenty and don’t worry so much about how much they eat, in warm weather their appetites will change.
  9. Children can be a little more challenging in warm weather. Be patient with them.
  10. When taking babies for walks in buggies, be aware of how hot they might be and be very aware of the sun shining on them. Even in the evening time the sun can still be very strong.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Tips on Being Assertive; 10 Tips  for Respecting Difference; and 10 Tips on Preparing Your Child for Preschool

If you would like support, information or advice in relation to the topic above, contact our lo-call askonefamily helpline on 1890 66 22 12 / support@onefamily.ie.

Image Credit: Pixabay

School Holidays

10 Ways to Make the Most of School Breaks

School's outFor some parents the school holiday is a respite time with a more relaxed routine. However, it can be a nightmare for others for many reasons such as not being able to take time off work, lack of childcare options and tight budgets, and so requires a lot of planning and management. As parents we learn quickly that when raising children it is important to develop as many resources as we possibly can. As part of our ’10 Ways to …’ series of weekly parenting tips, and in celebration of mid-term break, here are our tips on how to make school breaks enjoyable for all members of the family so you won’t hear the infamous “I’m bored” – hopefully!

10 Ways to Make the Most of School Breaks

  1. Time off: If you work outside of the home, plan your leave in advance for school holidays. Get the list of days off from the school at the start of each term and use this to plan your time off. If this is not possible, try to finish early over a few days during the mid-term.
  2. Plans: Make plans with children prior to school breaks. Making plans in advance for the days off will ensure that children are clear about what will happen. They will cooperate more if they are involved in making the plans.
  3. Family: Engage the support of family as much as possible at school breaks. If you share parenting with your child’s other parent, agree a system for the school holidays in advance. Grandparents and other family members can love having the chance to have some extra quality time with the children, maybe even a sleepover. Make sure to involve children in any plans and give them the information they need in advance.
  4. Friends: Make plans with other parents for play dates. Maybe you can set up a shared rota?
  5. Fun: Even if you have to work, try to have fun with children during the break. Fun doesn’t have to mean expense. Activities such as cooking, arts and crafts or having a picnic at home are really enjoyable things to do in the comfort of your own home. Plan fun activities out such as going to the park, feeding the ducks, a walk on the beach or going swimming.
  6. Library: Libraries often hold events for children on school breaks and are also a great source of information about what is taking place locally, such as nature walks or music workshops.
  7. Clear Out: Children can really enjoy helping at home. Take the school break as an opportunity to do a spring clean. Get the children involved in planning what needs to be done, make a colourful chart together. Maybe they can clear out their wardrobes and bring some clothes, toys or books to the charity shops. You may find hidden treasures as you go along, to have a dress up day when you finish!
  8. Socialise: Take school breaks as an opportunity to meet other families. There are lots of websites supporting families to meet up and do activities together. If you are feeling isolated, check out the One Family Social Group for starters. It provides a supportive environment for parents to enjoy a day out with other parents in similar circumstances, and is great fun for the children. Email us or call us if you’d like more information.
  9. Routine: It’s important to try to keep the bed time and meal time routines in place while children are on short school breaks. This will ensure that they will not get over tired, and as they are still in their routine when school begins again, the transition will be easier for everyone.
  10. Enjoy: Most of all, enjoy the break from homework as this allows time for other things in the evenings – don’t dread the school breaks.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training, 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact and 10 Ways to Sensitive Introduction of a Step Parent.

Remember, if you need a friendly ‘listening ear’, our askonefamily lo-call helpline is available on 1890 662 212.