Whanau Support Worker
My role at St Anne's is to help support our pupils through times of change. Change at times, may not be pleasant, may be uncomfortable but with some good support and understanding we can all get through the changes we are facing. We can use the experience of change and turn it into a strength to help build our confidence, self-esteem and our lives.
As adults we can cope with change better as we have the ability to find out more information to give us a better picture of what the change will be like. We then draw from past experience to help understand or paint a picture of what the change we are facing will be.
For children each change is more than likely a new event in their life, bringing with it new feelings and emotions which they may have never experienced before.
As adults we need to help our children understand the changes and feelings they are going through.
Some tips for helping with change are:
Keep routines. Having routines is really helpful to children, especially having a bedtime/dinner routine that happens at around the same time, in the same order every day. This lets them know that whatever else is changing in their life, there are things that they can rely on to always happen. Having one-to-one calm time with a parent at the end of the day also gives children the chance to talk over any worries about what is happening in a secure environment.
Answer all their questions and keep talking with your child The one to one time in your routine is a good place for children to ask questions. Do your best to answer all questions, even if some are repeated many times. This will allow them to voice any worries or concerns they may have in a safe place. It also will give you time to get an understanding of what is going on for your child. The more you can prepare your child for change, the easier it will be on them. Use visual prompts such as photos etc to help them to understand in more detail.
Stay calm and consistent Easier said than done, of course, especially if the change that is affecting them is worrying for you as well! However, if your child sees that you can remain calm and consistent, it will send them a sign that you can cope with things changing and they don’t need to worry. It can be tempting to try and ‘make up for’ difficult things that are happening by excusing them from behaviour you would not tolerate normally. It will actually make children feel more secure if you do not do this and keep firm boundaries in place. This will let children know that you are still the same person and that the same things are still important.
Let them grieve When any of us move, change schools, or make any kind of change in life, we leave something behind. Let your children talk about what they miss and try not to point out all of the wonderful things about the new house, new school, new bedroom or whatever. Let them appropriately mourn what they have lost.
The experience of change can be beneficial to our children and can give them great skills and to build resilience for future change if we address and support the change in the right way.
If you need any support or help regarding any changes you and your family may be facing, please feel free to contact me. I am happy to support you and your child where necessary to ensure that when things are changing in their lives, they can still get the full benefit from their education at St Anne's Catholic School.