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Navigating Fresh Starts and Transitions

As families transition from one season, activity, or learning venture to another, they may nurture new hopes, encounter different viewpoints, and experience unanticipated challenges. All this realignment, while also trying to retain familiar ways. That can be a lot for some kids to juggle!

When people move in uncharted directions, it’s important to find a balance that will offer both safe passage and comfortable footing. And, let’s face it, anything that involves the future is predominantly uncharted. Nobody has been there yet! Thus, a sense of security and a sense equilibrium are paramount. This is especially true for children.

To that end, familiarity and routines can fortify fresh starts and transitions, making the difference between a happily productive outset (or outcome), and an apprehensive one.

However, what else matters in addition to familiarity and routines?

Here are two suggestions that will empower kids to succeed with their heads held high, and with self-assurance.

CHANNEL OPTIMISM

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
~ Helen Keller

Optimism is a celebration of the power of possibility. It’s like a party for the soul! Optimism is also an organizing principle of sorts, enabling kids to plan, aspire, set goals and, ultimately, prevail.

When transitions occur, children can channel optimism by thinking about and augmenting what they already know and have, such as skills, relationships, and resources. Past experiences can help them to prepare for what lies ahead, and positivity can give them momentum.

Optimism may require taking a leap of faith or mitigating some risk, and it may also demand a search for inner strength, especially if circumstances seem challenging. Kids may appreciate the support and guidance proffered by others.

Optimism is an important and uplifting perspective. It can invigorate a fresh start, and it makes people feel good! It’s a beacon that illuminates the way forward, and it may also shed light on neighbouring pathways and on silver linings, too.

EMBRACE CHANGE

“If you believe in yourself and your ability to confront change when it happens, you can rise above difficulties…”
~ Ignite Your Ideas, p. 55

Change is inevitable. Kids can be accepting of change and tackle it. Here are four strategies:

  1. strive to be adaptable
  2. be willing to put forth effort
  3. take one step at a time
  4. look at each change experiences as an opportunity—that is, a chance to gain insight, acquire understandings, or embark upon an adventure.

Kids can think of these four points as ways to manage change and new beginnings, and as cornerstones for “next-leveling.”

Moreover, change and fresh starts may not seem as daunting if kids take a measured approach, and optimize their curiosity, determination, self-reliance, open-mindedness, and creativity. Plus, they can reach out to their trusted networks to ask for assistance if need be. Finding out out how family and friends welcome and navigate their change experiences can help kids learn to pivot.

LAST WORDS

Life presents many surprising twists and turns. However, that’s okay. Fresh starts and transitions are like exciting crossroads! They’re times when kids can revisit their accomplishments, and show optimism, flexibility, and resolve. Adults can be available to offer encouragement as kids learn to prioritize concerns, simplify matters, pace themselves, reflect upon possibilities, and—perhaps most importantly—to have faith in their own abilities!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article is adapted from one written by Dr. Joanne Foster and that appeared in issues pf Best Version Media’s Neighbours Magazines, distributed across Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens.

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