News flash: We’re almost at the end of another school year! As if anyone needing reminding, right? Our school is busy wrapping up lesson plans and planning graduation ceremonies. At such a busy time, it’s easy to overlook a child who might be struggling with the emotions that often come at the end of a school year.

The children who are graduating might feel overwhelmed by the prospect of an advanced grade or different school. Some children are dealing with the prospect of losing a friend who is moving at the end of the school year or leaving their friends as the family moves away. We need to take a few moments and consider these children – especially the younger ones who can see an ending clearer than they can look ahead to a new beginning in the fall.

Some of the emotional signs to look out for, with a child facing a big change are:

  • clinginess
  • mood swings or irritability
  • anger
  • sadness
  • anxiety
  • fear
  • being less sociable than usual

Here are some tips on helping a child prepare for and handle change:

  • Be available and attentive as much as you can during the times you know your child stresses over change (such as the beginning or end of a school year or an annual event).
  • Talk to your child about what is changing and what it means for everyone in the family. Share your experiences.
  • Acknowledge any worries or fears your child has, allow these emotions to surface and take them seriously as you give comfort.
  • Allow your child to make decisions about what is changing, whether it’s choosing what to wear on graduation day or what colors the child’s new bedroom will be painted. This makes a child feel more in control and less fearful.
  • Maintain the normal family routine as much as possible and keep other changes to a minimum.
  • Keep positive. Children often are a reflection of our own emotions, so the more positive the adults are around them, the more positive the children are.

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