5 Ways to Talk to Your Kids About Change

1. Start With Questions

Often-times kiddie curiosity is bundled with misinformation, unintended biases, and over-generalizations. It’s important to gauge where the questions are coming from before jumping into an explanation/opinion.

2. Try to Place Their Reference Points

Sometimes students aren’t exposed to certain viewpoints and topics because of familial or cultural norms. It’s important when talking to kids about change that we take this into account. What does he/she know about the topic already? How/has he/she been exposed to areas of the topic? What is his/her reference point toward the topic?

3. Be Honest

Kids are little people. Little people who are coming to you because you are a safe-space for them. Don’t ruin the relationship of trust by lying to them. Even though they are kids you don’t want to insult their intelligence by wrapping answers with illusions and half-truths.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Table the Discussion

Don’t be afraid to table the discussion, and/or say ‘I don’t know’. This is a hard one; especially for young kids (and people in general) because they aren’t getting the instant gratification that they are seeking. Putting a pin in a discussion to figure out a plan of attack, consult a partner, and/or decide how best to discuss the tough topic can give you clarity. It can also be a strategic way to schedule toe conversation for a better time, ensuring you devote the needed time that the conversation warrants. 

5. End with Emotions

Change is hard for anyone at any age. Children in particular are still learning their
worlds and developing their identities in it. These challenging conversations
can lead to a positive experience or be a detrimental one for the youngsters in
your charge. Ending the conversations by discussing how you feel and asking
children how they feel about the conversation can provide closure (or, knowing
kids, open you up to more questions).

Modern 21st century kids are hyper-aware of the world because they have more access to the world around them… there is no getting around that. But, what you can control is whom they go to for those really tough questions. When/If you can provide a safe space for discussing hard topics, kids are more likely to be more transparent with you when they face obstacles later in their own lives.