You as the parent are the best role model for manging change. Children will take your lead on how they should react. Make sure your messaging is consistent and reassuring when you talk to your children about change. This will help them accept the change and be more open to sharing their concerns.


New things can be scary. I hate thinking about all the things that could go wrong. I like it when things stay the same.

What if I don’t like the new change? What if I’m not very good at it? What if there are scary parts?

My worries want me to stop the change, but I have a feeling that is not going to make things better.

Does this sound like your child?


How can you prepare your family for change?

Take time first to figure out how you feel about the upcoming change. Your children will be looking to you to determine how they should feel and react to what is about to happen.
They best way to prepare your family for change is to talk about it beforehand.
Set some time aside to have a discussion. Assure everyone that it’s normal to feel anxious around change.
Talk about the changes that are coming, what it’s going to look like and what everyone’s role will be.

What’s the best way to get ready for change?

Best thing you can do leading up to change: stick to a routine! Sticking to a routine leading up to a change can alleviate extra stress.

Often it’s the unpredictable unknown that causes children to worry about change.

A regular routine provides them with something they can rely on.

Choices help children manage change.

Change can make children feel like they are losing control. This can be a scary feeling for anxious kids.
Choices allow them to hold on to a bit of control:
☻  Staying with Grandma for a week, but you can choose a couple of toys to bring
☻  We will be moving, but you can choose what colour your new room is
☻  You will need to stay at school for lunch starting next month, but you can help choose what you take to eat

Not all change is positive. What can you do if the changes are going to be difficult?

Talk with your child about how you and your family will deal with the change.

Make them part of discussion and be open to their suggestions in coming up with solutions on how you will manage the change.

Keep an eye on your anxiety. Kids pick up on their parents worries.

Watch this video on Change

When emotions start to escalate, how can you turn this situation around:

  • Stay calm and consistent, assure your child they are safe
  • Validate how your child is feeling
  • Acknowledge your child is having a hard time
  • Engage your child in finding solutions to help them manage their worries

Sometimes feelings involved with change get so big that big feelings turn into meltdowns, explosive emotions or even an angry outburst. This is your child telling you they are having trouble coping.

Check out the resources in the Big Feelings Strategy Library for more information on dealing with change.

Creating a Plan

  • Creating a plan helps you and your child work together to manage big feelings in the future.
  • Print off the plan on the kids page (The new teacher) and come up with a plan together.
  • Take the plan with you ( print off or on your phone) so you can remember what you need to do when emotions start to rise. Don’t forget to bring Poppy for some extra support!

You can use this plan to explain to family, friends or care givers how you and your child are working together to overcome big feelings. Use it to communicate to your child’s school or family doctor too!

Things to remember when building a plan:

  • Address the problem. Validate their feelings. Tell them how you are feeling about the situation.
  • Get creative, listen to their suggestions.
  • Print off the plan and post it or take it with you so everyone remembers what they need to do
  • What are the important things to remember? The key parts of the plan?
  • Determine the tough point. When does it get difficult? What are we going to do when that happens?
  • Yes to success! Maybe next time? What do we need to do differently, or do we just need practice? Even the best plans need practice sometimes!

The Plan (example)

Working together to:

Get ready to go to a new school

What’s the problem?

Prep- what will today look like:

  • learn as much about the new school as we can
  • drive by the school, walk around
  • meet the new principal and teacher, find out about school routine
  • meet kids from the neighbourhood that go to the school
  • keep a consistent routine leading up to the first day
  • First day of school: give yourself lots of extra time
  • arrive early
  • go over what day will look like
    ( school routine, pick up time)

Starting a new school

What do I need to do?

Parent- what will be my role in this plan:

  • stay calm and be supportive
  • help your child understand what the new routine/school will look like
  • help them work through their concerns
  • remind them of the positive changes they have been through before
  • work through how they can solve some of their concerns if you aren’t around
  • assure them they can manage the change and you will be thinking about them
  • review the after school plan

March 18. 2024

What is the solution?

Child- What will my role be in this plan:

  • be open to learning about new school
  • practice bendy thinking
  • let adults know when the worries are growing
  • ask questions if you are nervous
  • give it a try- practice bendy thinking
  • take a comfort toy in case the big feelings come up during the day

Recognize your feelings-validate their feelings and work together!

Now It’s your turn!

  • Don’t forget to collaborate with your child and validate their feelings
  • Go to the kids page and help your child work through the activities in the Emmet library << #8: The New Teacher >>
This is your chance to work with your child to come up with a plan for next time. Work through the activities on this kids page together. They have been designed to help you start a conversation. Come up with a plan that works for everyone.

The important thing is you are trying and you’re working together.