Four Ways of Making Your Child Comfortable in a New Environment
As adults, we often think of going to a new place as fun and exciting. Many of us enjoy travelling and experience real joy in exploring somewhere we’ve never been before. As a result, we can sometimes find it difficult to relate to children for whom going to new places might in fact be a little scary or disorientating. For little ones, a trip to a house previously unvisited, an unfamiliar town or another environment can be slightly intimidating. Don’t worry, however: there are a few steps you can take to help ease children into the shock of the new. From washing newborn baby clothes in familiar detergent to bringing reminders of home, here are some innovative suggestions of how to make your child comfortable in a new environment.
Bring familiar items
Most children have a favourite toy or teddy that they cling to wherever possible. It gives comfort and reassurance in a big and sometimes scary world. When you’re going somewhere new, make sure to pack these kinds of toys and have them at the ready for moments of stress.
The smell of home
Smell is one of the most evocative of the senses. A whiff of something familiar brings back the comfort of home. This is just as true for infants as it is for adults. If you know you’ll be making a potentially difficult trip to a new place with kids soon, prepare in advance. Trying washing newborn baby clothes and older children’s garments (whichever is relevant for your little ones) in a familiar detergent, one that really evokes a sense of home. When you get to a new place, putting on said clothes will let children smell a little piece of home and can have a truly calming effect.
Exploring new surroundings
Another great way to help your kids feel more at home in a new place is to give them a proper introduction to it. Too often we assume that children will simply adapt to what they see, but just as adults often appreciate a short tour and basic info about a place, children do, too. When you arrive, walk slowly round the new environment to help familiarise your kids. Be sure to point out important things like where they can get a drink of water and the location of toilets.
Avoid too much too soon
Finally, one important way to help children cope with a new place is to introduce new elements slowly. If you turn up at an old friend’s house for a visit, for example, children might be experiencing new people, new buildings and a new town all in one go. Help stagger this process by avoiding too much contact with hosts before children become familiar with their environment. Warn friends in advance about the kids possibly being a little quiet or moody to begin with as they are getting used to a new place.
Exposing children to new experiences is an important part of caring for little ones, so don’t be afraid of going somewhere new regardless of the potential challenges. Remember to incorporate tokens of familiarity to help bring a sense of ease and avoid introducing too many new things at once. For all the exciting things children will learn and explore in their new environment, these small preparations will be very much worth it.