I still remember when my best friend in second grade told me she was going to go to another school. I was shocked! Who would I twin with, or plan to krimp my hair on the same day with? (For the record, I was an 80s child.)
I remember feeling lost. I no longer had my friend to chat with on the bus. A friend to play with on the playground. Or to giggle endlessly over everything and anything. All of this left me feeling…lost.
I’ve been doing research on children and how to handle the event when a friend moves away. Not everything I’m reading seems to be on the appropriate level for children. As caring adults, we want our children to make new friends, but we need to acknowledge first what they are going through. Feelings are SO important for children, and they can’t always understand or express them properly. Here is where care givers come in. We have to be “okay” with them “not being okay”. We need to recognize they are hurting, on top of a lot of other emotions and sit with that feeling for a while. Rushing in to fix it or try and make them happy isn’t respecting where they’re at. We also shouldn’t jump in to introduce them to new friends. This should be something when they are ready, or done gently without pressure.
I think as adults we are so quick to move past uncomfortable feelings. But teaching a child that these feelings are okay is vital to their health. They will see you being with them through this time, and know you care about them. It isn’t easy seeing your child experience sadness or loss, but by supporting them through this, they will know they can count on you. That they are free to express any feeling and know it’s a safe space filled with love. This will only better your relationship and set a foundation of trust for the future.