Helping children respond to change

Starting school can be an exciting time for children and their families and a time of great anticipation. Last week as the 2016 Prep children participated in their first orientation morning at school, parents were invited to our first seminar, ‘Transition to School’, presented by School Psychologist, Sally Kenney.

In the seminar, we considered the changes that happen as children transition to school –  physically, emotionally and socially – and the key differences between early learning and school environments.

Sally talked through how children (and adults) react to change and how feeling anxious is a perfectly normal response to big changes such as starting school. We learned how educators and parents can be instrumental in breaking the ‘anxiety feedback loop’ by helping children to become aware of their emotions, to see anxiety as a normal human response to change and by offering simple strategies to help them meet a situation rather than escape it.


Sally put this advice in the broader concept of emotional coaching: a way of responding to children’s emotional experiences which enhances resilience, emotional literacy and coping. She outlined the five steps of emotional coaching:

1. Be aware of emotions (your child’s and your own)
2. Connect with your child
3. Listen to your child
4. Name emotions
5. Find good solutions

For more information about emotional coaching click here.