Help Kids Adapt to Change
Like the weather, one thing you can always count on is Change. As parents, one of the most important skills we can help a child develop is their ability to adjust to change; transition to new activities, new places, new people. Everyone copes differently so it is important to recognize what works best for your child so you can best address their needs through all of life’s changes and challenges.
At KidsPark, we see kids who are:
We assist each child to make his or her transition to KidsPark easy and positive. And, it is possible that on a different day, kids react differently. A Watcher may become a Joiner. A Resister may become a Watcher. They may change as they grow or they may change based on their mood, their energy level, or what they did the day before. Don’t we all?
Joiners are children who enter a KidsPark center and see bright colors, a fun play space with lots of toys and other kids having a good time. Their initial reaction is to join in; just like being at the neighborhood park. Our teachers just need to show them around, especially where the restroom is and go over the basic play rules.
Parents can support their children’s confidence and eagerness by saying, “Good-bye, have fun, and see you soon.” If you come for a tour before your visit, be prepared for a fuss when you leave. These kids want to stay and play.
Watchers are children who need a few minutes to observe the area and people before they pick their spot. We give them time and space. Then, if needed, we assist with suggestions, guide them into an activity, or introduce them to a group.
Parents can support a child who is a Watcher by allowing them the time to adjust. Instead of watching them or giving them direction, let the desk person know you will call in 15-20 minutes to be sure they are engaged or we can give you a confirmation call. It may be helpful to tour the center before your first visit to build excitement for them. Try to talk about a favorite toy or activity the child connected with so they look forward to their return visit.
Explorers are children who are non-stop and need to check-out every inch of the KidsPark center. These kids are usually individual participants who need the freedom to roam to feel comfortable before they pick an activity. Our open floor plan allows choice in many activity centers.
Parents can support a child who is an Explorer by letting them roam instead of insisting they immediately join a group and “get started.”
Resisters are children who are uncomfortable with change and may need time to make any transition. We often have parents say these kids need time at home to transition from play to bedtime or breakfast to running errands. It is not unusual for these children to have some hesitancy in a new environment. In these cases, we definitely recommend a tour before their first visit to ward off apprehension.
Parents can support a child who is a Resister by repeatedly, a day or two before their visit, describe an activity that they will enjoy doing at KidsPark such as painting a picture or playing with slime. Or, plan a special lunch when he or she is picked up. We also encourage parents not to prolong the good-byes – a kiss and a hug and off you go with a smile works best for the child. If you show you are upset, your child will be upset. And, most importantly, keep the first visit very short – 30 minutes at most. If they understand a clock, tell them the specific time you will be back so they have reassurance.
If a child is uncomfortable with change or new environments, we recommend:
- Visit KidsPark before you need us for a critical appointment that requires a few hours.
- Get your child comfortable by making visits to KidsPark a routine once or twice a week, lengthening the stay each time, until your child is comfortable.
- Bring a small comfort toy or blanket on their first visit.
- Let us help! Be ready to let our teachers comfort your child.
- Check with your center for suggestions on what day and time you should visit – less busy times may ensure a more positive experience for your child.
KidsPark is a family’s best friend. We work with you to make sure each visit is a positive experience for you and your child.