5 Tips to Prepare for New Seasons & Transitions: A Guide for Parents During COVID-19

By: Arianna Allen and Terri Galindo
As students and parents prepare for school to resume in the fall, Terri Galindo, LCSW, LMFT — 4KIDS' Vice President of Clinical Services — shares five recommendations to equip parents with the knowledge and tools they need to help their child(ren) adapt to transitions resulting from COVID-19. To hear more expert advice from Terri and her team on this topic, be sure to register for the virtual Parenting Talk Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Family Ministry will be hosting on Thursday, July 16 at 8:00 PM.

We all have our own perception about what change really means. The change that occurs in each one of our lives is relative and constantly shifting over time. Change looks differently for everyone; it may look like moving to a new state, making new friends, or going to a new church.

However, the largest transition that will soon impact the majority of households is the transition from being in quarantine for roughly four months to preparing your child(ren) to start school in August. It can be overwhelming thinking about how you as a parent are supposed to lead your family through a new season and routine amidst a global pandemic and wondering what school will look like.
Whatever emotions you are feeling in this moment, know that there is freedom and comfort in God’s promises, which are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Whatever emotions you are feeling in this moment, know that there is freedom and comfort in God’s promises, which are the same yesterday, today, and forever… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

As we prepare for school to resume in August with hopeful expectation, 4KIDS' Vice President of Clinical Services Terri Galindo, LCSW, LMFT, has provided five tips to help parents lead their child(ren) through new transitions resulting from COVID-19.

  1. Prepare.

    In order to ensure a smooth transition within a family, parents should begin preparing themselves for what lies ahead. It is important for parents to respond to situations rather than quickly react to them. By engaging in prayer, Bible study, conversations with other parents, and/or self-reflection, you will be able to respond more effectively to your child(ren)’s behavior resulting from new routines and transitions.
    It is important for parents to respond to situations rather than quickly react to them.
  2. Assess.

    Engaging in quality time with your child(ren) can help you better identify potential roadblocks they may experience when faced with a transition. Such connection can manifest in assessing the kind of personality your child has and what kind of special considerations they may need to make the transition as smooth as possible, thus minimizing the chances of a meltdown.

    As you interact with your child(ren) in the midst of the transition they’re experiencing, observe their behavior patterns; this will be useful in determining whether appropriate tools should be utilized to aid in their transition. These tools might include talking about the change ahead of time, giving them time and space to prepare, discussing what they anticipate happening when the time for change comes, or perhaps allowing the child to offer a suggestion for a compromise.

  3. Exercise patience and empower.

    It is important to understand that it takes some children longer than others to adjust to various transitions. Some may “fight” the act of the transition for a short while. If this applies to your child, give them some time to process the transition and their emotions.
    It is possible to empower your child(ren) with the freedom to choose while maintaining parental control.
    When patience is exercised from the parental side, a child will be more likely to obey parental requests. For example, a child that is playing a video game may need more time to process the idea of transitioning into doing homework. Offering this kind of freedom can sound like: “I acknowledge that you’re really struggling with ending the video game, but I can give you two minutes to wrap it up, then it is time to move onto your homework.” It is possible to empower your child(ren) with the freedom to choose while maintaining parental control.

  4. Measure the magnitude.

    The magnitude of transition can vary. However, after being in quarantine for a few months, going back to school will be a significant transition. Given the weight of this transition, parents should allow some space and time for their child(ren) to adjust. Measuring the magnitude includes observation and conversations. As conversations progress, you will be able to observe the impact of the transition on your child and move forward from there.

  5. Engage in dialogue.

    Your child needs to hear from you! If they don’t, then they will not hear how you feel and what your opinion is. When there is no established line of communication, children will be more inclined to go elsewhere for information (the internet, friends, etc.). If your child has already gone elsewhere for information, you can break down the barriers for the severed communication by acknowledging the information they have heard and adding to it.
    When sharing what’s on your heart with your child(ren), be sure to do so with love and grace.
    While engaging in dialogue, a parent can help their child(ren) critically think through the transition by asking questions such as, “what do you think is going to happen?” or “what positive/negative things can result from this transition?” This dialogue will foster ongoing conversations, and subsequently, a deeper relationship between parents and their child(ren), which can help parents identify possible fears that are holding their child(ren) back from thriving. When sharing what’s on your heart with your child(ren), be sure to do so with love and grace.

To some degree, we have all felt the overwhelming pressures that change can bring, and that is OK! Parents, give yourself grace through this process. Terri said it best: “If you get this at least 30% right… your kids are going to be fine. Kids want to see that you’ve got their backs and that you love them.”
Kids want to see that you’ve got their backs and that you love them.
Remember, it is through uncomfortable seasons that we grow the most. In Romans 5:3-5, Paul writes, “not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the spirit who was given to us.” God is a potter who is molding us into who He desires for us to become.

If you’re a parent who would like to learn more about leading your child(ren) through life’s transitions, we strongly encourage you to register for the virtual Parenting Talk Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Family Ministry will be hosting on Thursday, July 16 at 8:00 PM. Terri Galindo, her EPIC team, and 4KIDS’ Coordinator of Clinical Services Mariana Caro, LCSW, will be discussing this particular topic in depth.

 
Arianna Allen, a CCA alumnus, currently attends Broward College and plans on transferring to the University of Florida upon earning her Associate in Arts degree to pursue her dream of becoming a sports broadcaster. Arianna has always had a deep passion for athletics and writing. She is the official intern of the Broward County Athletic Association as well as the online and podcast editor for Broward College’s student newspaper (The Observer). In her free time, she enjoys painting, journaling, and making memories with her friends and family.
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  • Kay M
    Thank you. Do you have a recording from the virtual Parenting Talk Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Family Ministry? I would like a copy to view please.
  • Dwayne Johnson
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