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Supporting your child through a time of change

Information and practical tips to help you support your child during a time of change.

Young people go through all kinds of changes as they grow up – including when they move into a new class, go to secondary school, move to a new house or area, or experience changes within their family.

These times of transition can be exciting. However, they can also be stressful, worrying or upsetting.

Change can be difficult when a young person does not want it to happen or does not feel ready for it, feels worried about something new or unknown, needs time to let go of something that has ended or feels that what is happening to them is out of their control. A child or young person may also find change difficult if they are already struggling with other things.

If your child is struggling to cope with change, have a look at our practical tips to help you support them.

Act on Warning Signs

You know your child better than anybody else. It’s important to act on the warning signs if you start to feel concerned.

Catherine’s tips:

  • Look out for a change in things like sleeping or eating habits
  • Communicate with your child if you’ve seen these signs
  • Keep going, even if it feels like you’re not getting through to them
  • Contact your GP or school about the warning signs if things don’t improve
When you’ve seen these signs, it’s really important to try and talk to your child. Keep talking to your child and trying to communicate in any way you can - hugging, listening to them, texting them. In any way, keep the line of communication open with them.

Be Part of the Solution

As a parent, be part of the solution. There are a number of things you can do to support your child, whether that be helping them plan, problem solve, or develop a sense of hope for the future.

Jo’s tips:

  • Get interested in what your child is doing
  • Open up conversations about what they’re involved in
  •  Keep an eye on pressure points
Have conversations with them about music, about current affairs, about social media. Get them to teach you about the things they’re involved in.

Be Your Child's Anchor

If your child is experiencing problems or going through significant change, it’s important that you can be an anchor for them.

Jo’s tips:

  • Being an anchor will be reassuring if things are changing
  • Maintain hobbies and routines
  • Be a sense of hope by encouraging them
See what kind of things you can maintain, whether its hobbies, family favourites or routines. These will provide a safety net if your child is struggling, or finding it hard to cope with the change that is around them.

Look After Yourself

It’s important you look after yourself, to best look after your child.

Catherine’s tips:

  • Recognise when you’re finding things hard
  • Talk to family and friends about how things are
  • Don’t blame yourself, it is not your fault
  • Recharge your batteries and relax
Don’t blame yourself, it’s so easy to do but it’s not your fault. As a parent you can feel guilty all the time, but what is happening is happening and what’s really important is that you take care of yourself.

For more top tips, download our Ten Ways for Parents to Help Children Cope with Change poster. 

More Information and Support

Helplines and services for young people

The Mix

  • You can find information on their website about coronavirus and ideas for things to do while staying home.
  • Their emotional support services are open as normal – and if you’re under 25 you can talk to them about anything that’s troubling you over the phone, email or webchat. You can also use their phone or online counselling service.
  • Helpline open daily 4-11pm: 0808 808 4994
  • Email service
  • Webchat open daily 4-11pm
  • Counselling service

Childline

  • If you're under 19 you can confidentially call, email or chat online about any problem big or small
  • Freephone 24h helpline: 0800 1111
  • Sign up for a childline account on the website to be able to message a counsellor anytime without using your email address
  • Chat 1:1 with an online advisor

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

  • Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis
  • If you need urgent help text YM to 85258
  • All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors
  • Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

Special thanks to Tallulah Self for producing the Top Tips videos

#Take20 is in association with The Drum's Do It Day 

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