Change can be exciting. It can be terrifying as well, and depending on your personality, your reaction to even hearing the word ‘change’ can cause different physical responses. Captain Picard said, “There is a way out of every box, a solution to every puzzle; it’s just a matter of finding it.” That ability to create a solution to a challenge is great, but in order to even think of the solution sometimes, though, we need to be willing to accept change, either in ourselves or in our situation. How can we better prepare our children to be able to adapt to change and prepare themselves for survival so that they even look for the ways out of the box or the window where there isn’t a door?
Teaching children that change is not always fearful or scary can be challenging depending on our own personalities and their natural inclinations. But, I feel like it is a valuable trait to encourage. Life’s constant tumult can become less terrifying if we know that we are adaptable and can survive despite being thrown off-course.
There are several books that can ease transitions like moving, adding a new family member, experiencing death, etc. These are great ways for little ones to become exposed to change especially early in life when they don’t have the vocabulary to express what they’re feeling or even understand what they’re feeling in many ways. By having the concept of change as a regular theme in books or other entertainment, change itself can be normalized as a part of life even if the changes being discussed do not actually take place in the child’s life. We don’t have to move, for example, to enjoy The Berenstain Bears: Moving Day.
The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan & Jan Berenstain – 5 stars
A classic. A little bear and his parents move from one house and town to another. Sister Bears hasn’t been born yet, so if kids know about her, they will almost certainly ask where she is. This is a great book for exploring the pros and cons of moving, pointing out how scared Brother Bear was in many ways, but how there were also opportunities. Not everything was perfect – he did leave some friends behind – but there can be positive aspects even in such a big transition.
The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock – 5 stars
A boy experiences change in his own life by discovering a ‘noisy’ paint box – he hears colors as he paints. The change that he effects on the world because of his painting style and influence is incredible
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams – 5 stars
A family’s possessions are lost in a fire, and the girl, mother, and grandmother save pennies and spare money until they’re able to afford a new chair. The beauty of such a desire and goal tugs on the emotional heartstrings in ways that ‘another’ princess book just cannot do. This book explores kindness, empathy, and adapting to change.
A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni – 5 stars
A little chameleon changes constantly throughout the book trying to find a place to belong. The search for belonging also invites discussion with little ones about what it means to belong, to even change how we behave depending on who we’re around or where we are (home v. school, with friends v. with grandparents). These are little, daily changes that are lovely to explore.
Press Here by Herve Tullet – 5 stars
There are no life changes noted in this book, but the book gives little readers control over what happens next. Having power in a situation where things are changing as you read through the plot is a valuable experience. If we are always powerless, we will not try to enact change. If we have even small bits of power and see the effects of what we can do, we may grow even stronger.
Sources & Further Reading
“Jean-Luc Picard.” Wikiquotes. 12 April 2017.
“Liberal vs. Conservative: a neuroscientific analysis”