I recently had a conversation with another parent who has college-age children. College is when your kids finally get that independence they’ve been wanting. However, two of the children were so lonely in dealing with the change that they needed a visit from their parent soon after arrival on campus.
As exciting as new seasons are for our kids, we still need to be there for them. We need to help them prepare. They may not see the entire picture, or they may just underestimate the challenges they’ll face. Here are 5 ways to help them prepare for each new season in their lives.
1. Spend time with them around this new experience.
Our kids still need us to be with them when dealing with change. Don’t hover, but do find ways to spend one-on-one time with them in this new season of life. They need your support and guidance in it.
2. Give them a “pass” to make mistakes.
Very few of us start off great at new things. Struggling at the beginning can be enough to discourage some kids and lead them to quit. I like to use adding simple numbers as an example. When my kids first were learning math, they made a lot of mistakes in their calculations, but now 2+2 is a simple equation for them. Let your children know their mistakes are not the end of the world.
3. Don’t compare them with older siblings.
Remind your younger children that their older siblings didn’t start out that good. If they have a good relationship with their sibling, perhaps even ask their older siblings to encourage them. However, don’t always compare them to their siblings or it could instigate sibling rivalry. Instead, encourage them to appreciate the work, the learning, and the improvement they are making.
4. Help make it fun.
If they are enjoying this new experience and having fun, then they’ll do the work, preparation, or whatever else is needed to make the most out of this new stage and experience. Work doesn’t have to be unenjoyable. Teaching them to value hard work is one way they’ll have fun.
5. Remain encouraging through it all.
Your children need somebody in their corner.There are going to be ups and downs. Through them all, your children need somebody in their corner. They need someone to encourage and compliment them. This is your job, so don’t miss the opportunities. Every time you see your kids, say, “When I see you, I’m thankful that I’m a dad.”
Sound off: How do you help your kids embrace new seasons?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you feel when you try new things?”