You can help your children cope with change in their lives! As a Christian parent, it’s our great blessing and responsibility to do so! Here are four tips to help you guide your children through changes in life and the stress that comes with it so they can come out on the other side with a stronger faith.

“Mom, is Grandma ever going to be able to visit us again?”

My six year old little boy came to me, fat tears brimming in his eyes. He was just beginning to process the news that his Grandma had cancer and that we would not be able to see her due to her treatment and the need to protect her health during that time. 

My mom’s presence in my children’s lives had been a daily occurrence, and often my parents would have them over on the weekends as well. But after our family moved a few hours away AND we heard the news of her diagnosis within a short period of time, our kids were faced with a dramatic change in what they’d come to expect in their daily life.

Change can come upon us unexpectedly, turning our lives upside down. What we’ve become comfortable with and come to expect is flipped on its head and our life suddenly becomes almost unrecognizable from what it used to be.

Whether we realize it in the moment or not, we eventually start to feel the stress of those changes. 

Change can especially affect our children, who are still growing physically, developing emotionally and learning how to process the world around them. 

So how can we help them navigate through change in a healthy way? As we’ve walked through a variety of changes in our lives with our own four children, we’ve learned some ways to help them handle it well and come out stronger on the other side.  

Let’s talk about four steps that you as a Christian parent can take to help your child handle change, using Biblical principles to guide you. 

how to help child cope with change Christian biblical help

Helping Your Child Handle Change {Tips for Christian Parents}

1) Teach your children that God does not change

Leading our kids to understand that God does not change is one of the foundations of our faith. It’s so important for them to stand on this truth, because as they grow up, other things in their lives will change. But thankfully, God is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” as Hebrews 13:8 reminds us. God’s Word will never “pass away” and so we know that He remains the foundation of our faith, no matter what changes happen around us.

Take your children through some Scriptures that will give them confidence in God and His unchanging nature. 

  • Hebrews 13:8
  • James 1:17
  • Isaiah 40:8
  • Matthew 24:35
  • Psalm 102:25-27

2) Talk about changes that are happening together

Sometimes, even a change as simple as growing older can be hard for our kids! When my now 14 year old turned 8, he told me “I don’t want to grow up, because then I can’t play with my toys anymore”. 

It seemed odd to me that he struggled in that way because when I was little, I’d always been so eager to grow up! Because we all have different responses to various changes, it’s important to have a conversation with your kids about the changes that are happening to understand how they are really feeling. 

Let’s say you are moving to a different state. You could ask questions like:

  • How do you feel about moving? 
  • What questions can I answer for you about our move?
  • Let’s talk about our move. Is there anything you want to say about it?

Try not to ask them leading questions. For instance, try not to say “are you scared of moving?” They may never have thought to be scared and so you want to be careful that you don’t lead them to assume they need to be afraid.

It’s important too, that if change is hard for your child that you allow them to process it without dismissing their concerns. Encourage them to write down how they feel in a journal if they’re older and don’t necessarily want to talk with you at the moment.

TIP: Make time to read through a book of the Bible together like Exodus or the book of Ephesians. For kids who are feeling displaced or struggling with change, learning about God’s faithfulness to the Israelites in the desert or seeing Jesus’ purpose for them as they live as “aliens and strangers” in this world through the book of Ephesians can be an encouragement and draw them closer to God. You can find Bible reading plans for kids in our shop, that also include journaling pages if that’s something your children enjoy! 

3) Talk about the positives of change 

I’ve noticed that when something changes, my children find it hard to see the good in it. Let’s be honest–so do I! It’s easier to complain or be frustrated. If it’s a big shift in life as we know it, change can also be a sorrowful experience.

Try to gain your own perspective on the situation and talk with your kids about the positives that can come out of change. For instance, this spring when we had to go to distance learning because of the pandemic, my kids were super frustrated about not being able to see their friends and teachers plus upset about the cancellation of all the spring events they were looking forward to.

Once we had adapted to our situation, we made a point to talk with the kids about how this time was teaching us to value family, motivating us to have a better devotional life and even helping us save money. 

Try taking a moment each night (or just when things come up in conversation) to talk about how the changes happening can bring us closer to Jesus and how He provides comfort and encouragement in the middle of the mess.

Certainly there are downsides and disappointments that come with change, and as I said before, it’s important to face those also. But we know that Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.” This is a comfort for our children as Christians!

4) Pray with your kids about change

No matter what stage of life you’re reading this post, there are always reasons to pray continually over our circumstances.

Change can make us feel very uncertain and uncomfortable and that affects our children as well. Most of the time we aren’t in control. But we can yield control to God through prayer (it’s ok if that takes awhile, by the way, I’m still working on that skill!) ;)

We can pray both for our kids and with our kids when changes disrupt our lives.

When you pray about change for your kids, there are two important things you don’t want to forget to pray for:

  • Pray that God would help your child walk through change in faith and trust.
  • Pray that God would bring about change in our children’s hearts through the situation!

When you pray with your children, give them a chance to speak up and express their feelings to God. 

Use Scripture to pray. Open the Bible to a Psalm and read the words out loud in prayer. A few good ones to use that relate to change and hope for the future are:

  • Psalm 27
  • Psalm 33
  • Psalm 107
  • Psalm 121
  • Psalm 145

Help them walk through the ACTS method of prayer if they’re having a tough time knowing how to talk to God.

For us, we had to deal with some permanent change after my mom recovered from her cancer. She can’t come and visit us as often as before but we’re so very thankful for the chances we have to see her, the holiday celebrations and the week each summer when my kids get to stay with Grandma and Grandpa.

God has shown His faithfulness, provided hope and helped us navigate change in a way that gives us a stronger and more resolute faith. I pray the same can be true for you and your children as well!

Do you have a story of God’s faithfulness through change? I’d love to read it in the comments!

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