Change offers an opportunity to support adaptive emotional coping in your child, which can prepare her for life. Here are guiding principles:

Offer some consistency. Create a rhythm for the day; it doesn’t need to be rigid, but should have some elements of predictability. This will be the stable base in the face of other upcoming changes.

Create a sense of safety. Make sure you have increased face-to-face time with your child, which includes the sweet intimate parts of his routine that may include physical closeness and affection such as having a snack or reading a story together. This is the glue for your child’s emotional sense of security.

Decide what to say. Think about how to frame the information about the upcoming change in a way that matches your child’s development.

Decide how to say it. Be authentic and calm in your facial expression, voice and body language. You need to convey that you and she are safe.

Think about timing. Discuss the change when there is time for your child to digest your information and for you to respond to your child’s questions.

Explain why. Let him know that the change is related to the adults or other factors, not to him.

Break the big change into small manageable pieces. Perhaps address one week at a time.

Use a visual. Map out the week with your child on a large white board or large piece of paper by drawing pictures of what is coming up. Use colorful pencils together. Add and cross off activities as the week progresses.

Check in daily. Set aside a quiet moment to talk together about what you each think went well in the day and what was a bit tricky. This keeps you in the loop of your child’s inner world.

Plan together. When planning for the upcoming week, reflect on what went well and what was tricky in the previous week. Then problem-solve together to make changes to the upcoming week.

Solve problems together. When your child brings up a worry, help her create a ‘menu’ of possible solutions for her worry. This is a great opportunity to help your child generate solutions around her big feelings.

Monitor yourself. Do what you need to stay calm. Consider looking at the news only twice per day.

Incorporate movement. You and your child will need daily movement to discharge your internal stressors and worries.

Celebrate perks of the situation. Which special games might you be able to play; which kinds of foods can you make; or which projects can you start while you are at home? Find humor and laughter in daily events.

Kiegan Blake is an Occupational Therapist, Bheavioral Specialist and Director of Maui Center for Child Development. For more information, please all 808-873-7700 or

Read More: Flip through the Summer Issue 2020.