School News

Adapting to Major Life Changes: Strategies for Children

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Dec 09, 2022

Change is the one constant in today's world. Change can be difficult for families going through or about to enter the transition period, especially with children. For schools such as The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), communities are transient by nature; hence ISKL Counselors have developed means to navigate this change. Read more to learn the strategies to ensure a smooth transition for children and families. 

At ISKL, the school’s vision is to know yourself, care for all, and create a better world. This can also be applied to parents dealing with the changes that come with transitioning, as the best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself

As parents, this can be challenging as you have to take care of yourself and your children simultaneously. This period will unearth a myriad of emotions from the child, and the feelings may change from moment to moment, day to day, as a parent deal with change. Help them build resilience by acknowledging their feelings and offering support.

The transition process is not linear, as it can go in many different directions, according to ISKL counselors. To be better equipped to help children, we should get a handle on our emotions first. As we move from one place to another, the children may undergo a process of grief just before or after the move.

One way to help children overcome grief is to work on building a 'RAFT' so that it is easier for them to deal with their emotions. This strategy offers children choice and the idea that they are (somewhat) in control.

R – Resolve any problems there may be with family and friends

A – Affirmation: everybody in every relationship is important, and taking time to acknowledge these people

F – Farewell: say goodbye to the people and places you love

T – Think destination: having a forward-looking mindset and getting acquainted with your new home

A simpler version is the acronym SHIP: Saying sorry and I forgive you, Heartfelt thanks for each other, It's time to say goodbye, Plan for the new place.

Another suggestion is to listen to your children and validate their feelings, even if it sounds negative sometimes. As you share your frustration with your children, it can be comforting for them to know that adults also go through similar emotional experiences. 

One of the best things we can do is talk about the transition and ask open-ended questions. It may not be easy for your children to share their thoughts and feelings, so having something to hold on to or chatting over dinner will take the pressure off the conversation.

The counselor advised parents to expect grief and frustration to resurface throughout the moving process, whether at the start before leaving, upon arrival at the new location, or even much later when children begin school. 

"As you go through your transition, we encourage you to celebrate the time you have had and share those memories and experiences with your children to help them adapt to the changes and appreciate their unique lifestyle."

Whether your child is starting school for the first time or transitioning from another school, families are invited to come and discover what makes ISKL such a special community at its next Open Day on Wednesday, February 22, 2023. Register your interest at