Wednesday, October 21, 2015

{31 for 21} Preparing for Change.

Ellie has been experiencing a lot of changes recently.

We bought our first house, meaning that Ellie dealt with a stressed out mommy and daddy who were busy figuring out the details of a home purchase and updating the house, removing wallpaper, painting, and packing.

She got a new room.  Then she got a new sister.  Then Kelly moved.

I feel like we did a pretty good job preparing Ellie for Caroline.  We talked a lot about having a sister, sharing, what babies do, what babies don't do, and Ellie picked out everything for Caroline's room.  And while that transition wasn't exactly easy, having Grammie in town for a week and a half made it a bit easier.

The new house was harder.  When Ellie and I stopped by our old house to grab a few items we'd left behind, she walked around aimlessly sobbing, "It's EMPTY!"  We drove to the new house, had Ellie's room almost 100% ready before we even moved in, and yet she still was up multiple times a night for the first four weeks... after which we added baby sister to the mix.

We did the same sort of preparation for the new house, but it was just too much for her.  We've had a number of friends move far away this year, and I think Ellie had trouble understanding a local move.

I've found the following generally helpful when preparing for any sort of big change with Ellie, although not foolproof:

* Tell her EXACTLY what to expect
* Show her examples (such as other babies, talk to friends who have moved.)
* Have her help (with the baby, packing boxes... even if I found a toy mermaid in the china while unpacking)
* Give her choices, such as room colors (dark pink and light pink!)

Transition is hard for any kid, but transition for Ellie requires a little extra effort.  She feels deeply and doesn't always have the words to share her feelings.  For example, when we told her Kelly was moving she didn't react.  Then she and Matt got in the car and she sobbed for 15 minutes.

Social stories would be another great transition tool.  What works for your child?

Although I admit, we're trying to avoid any more major life changes here for awhile!
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