by THE K-12 COUNSELING TEAM | Friday, Apr 01, 2022

Life stage transitions are inevitable, and can be hard for many children. Change elicits excitement mixed with nerves and fear. This is the time of year when our 5th grade students are preparing to step up from elementary to middle school. Our 8th grade students will be leaving the familiar ADHUS community for high school, and our current 9th graders prepare to “cross the street” to the University campus. Students in all grades may be experiencing changes and transitions in their personal life, as well. 

How can you help your child prepare for personal or academic transitions*?

  1. Invite them to talk about their feelings. Listen to whatever they say—to their anger and sadness and confusion. Validate their feelings and let them know that whatever they’re experiencing is OK.
  2. Help them see the elements of stability in their life and school. Name all the things at school or home that will remain the same.
  3. Direct children to see what they are in control of. Unwelcome change makes people feel like they don’t have control over their lives. Ask your students or children, “What are you free to choose right now?” and they’ll be reminded of their own power.
  4. Guide children to focus on a positive future and what might be possible a year from now. Help them imagine making new friends, forming strong connections with other adults, and finding joy, community, and fulfillment. If there’s anything they can do to make these things happen (such as making new friends) guide them to do those things.
  5. Allot a brief time for worry. Especially if you have a child who worries all the time, suggest a 15-minute time during the day when they allow themselves to worry. When they start worrying at other times, remind them that it isn’t their designated worry time.
  6. Ask children: What really matters here? Help them see the big picture, gain perspective, and keep the change in proportion.
  7. Help them connect with their own resilience, coping mechanisms, and energy. They have dealt with change and challenge before. Help them access those resources and remind them that they will get through this latest challenge.
  8. Help them see their own resources for making changes that they desire. Help them think about how to be proactive about creating the kind of experience they want, even in the face of unwelcome change.

*adapted from Supporting Kids Through Times of Change , Edutopia



If you suspect your child is experiencing any difficulties whether academically, socially, or emotionally, please encourage them to seek the support of their school counselor or other trusted adults.