Whatever else childcare involves, the one certainty is that life spent around young children is constantly shifting, moving, changing…  
Carers constantly need to adapt to the changing needs of their children. And yet, for most adults, change is something of a struggle. 
Change is all around us… 
There are some hefty things that are re-shaping in our world and our daily life at present. We are challenged as we respond to new norms in society (economics, politics, global warming, technologies, pandemics…) 
Then there are seasonal changes. Autumn is a season of change when children and young people begin their new school/college/nursery year. I like that the Jewish celebration Rosh Hashanah (New Year) occurs in September. It makes more sense to me than trying to squidge it into the week after Christmas. 
And then there is change that we have chosen. A new home, new job, new social group, new child, new relationship, new podcast series… Even good changes are potential stress triggers. 
Add to this mix life with young children, our little bundles of change. Their rate of growth is astonishing, and they present us with ever-changing challenges as their needs and capabilities evolve… by the month, day, hour… by the minute!! 
If we’re not careful, this very real cocktail of changes risks destabilising us. 
So how should we navigate such periods of change? Rather than being tossed about by events beyond our control, anxious and uncertain about what’s going on, what might happen, is it possible to experience change with a measure of security, assurance and peace? 
I believe it is and find this simple saying so helpful. 
It reminds me that change is fundamental to how the world works. 
Change is part of the natural order of things. 
Let’s see how… 
Healthy things grow… 
This simple truth is profound. The opposite is also true… unhealthy things become stagnant, rotten, and eventually perish. 
If we want a plant to flourish, it needs regular tending. It is true for organisations and organisms, businesses and board rooms, relationships and refurbishments. Companies that adapted in lockdowns seem to have emerged healthier and stronger to face new challenges. Others have not survived so well. 
Growing things change… 
Knowing that growth is inevitable if things are to remain healthy, we can now interpret the dreaded word ‘change’ from a different viewpoint. 
I adored the pre-school years with our three children. But… if I still needed to spoon feed them, tidy their toys and run them to play dates now they are adults, something would be very wrong. 
Everything that grows must change. Cells divide and multiply, children grow and need new clothes…it’s how the world works. 
Changing things challenges us… 
So true. As responsible citizens we are being challenged by the need to use water, fuel, and electricity more sparingly AND guide our young children to do the same – not easy! 
This autumn, many children are adjusting to new nurseries, classes, new schools. Their teachers and early years practitioners are getting to know them and having to tweak their best laid plans… 
Every year as I approached the new start of term in late summer, I experienced some nervousness and anxiety. I found comfort reading Polk Lillard’s classroom journal. [Paula Polk Lillard: A teacher account of how children really learn ISBN 0-8052-1087-3] 
I feel nervous about tomorrow. It’s not unique to feel this way, I know. Teachers who have taught forty years have told me they always feel this way before a new class begins… it’s a performance you want to do well… there is concern for the unknown… (p.22) 
Every change brings with it the challenge to adjust, adapt, accommodate, or not! 
Challenge causes us to trust… 
Challenges present us with a choice. We can flounder or find something (or someone) to ground us. 
In the podcast #14 ‘Open Hearts; Open Homes’ [Turning Little Stones Series 1, Episode14; Open Hearts; Open Homes www.turninglittlestones.co.uk], Rachel shares how she works to surround herself with a few trusted go-to ‘2 o’clock in the morning’ friends. As a single parent fostering young children, she tells us with refreshing honesty that she could not navigate the challenges alone. 
We need to know that whatever/whoever we trust is trustworthy. Some will look to their faith as a rock to keep them steady in times of turbulence. 
Whenever I cannot make sense of challenging circumstances, I frequently return to the solid ‘rock’ of well-researched theory that connects with my personal beliefs and convictions 
As a manager/tutor, I wanted our staff to trust their training, trust me, trust their team, trust our policies and procedures. This way, we worked out how to manage different situations together. 
Trust is something active, especially when circumstances seem to make no sense… ‘I’ve no idea why he/she is behaving like this, but I trust there is a reason, and we will find a way to support him/her through it.’ 
My hope is that every Turning Little Stones podcast will help every listener do just this! 
Trust brings obedience… 
Obedience has become an unpopular word and you might find it more relatable by using the word ‘hope’. But let’s consider ‘obedience’ through a different lens. 
My dog has learnt to obey the recall whistle when we are out, and he is off the lead. His go-to safe place is between my legs where I can hold his collar until we’re sure that he’s safe to run freely again. In the early days, he needed a reward for coming. Now he trusts that obedience to the recall whistle it is for his own good. 
This subject is a deep seam of understanding for those caring for young children. There is a delicate balance between imposing our will on children and carefully offering freedoms for them to make good choices and learn self-discipline. We unpack this much more fully in ‘Delving a Little Deeper’[www.turninglittlestones.co.uk]. 
Obedience makes us healthy… 
Back to Matty, our dog. He enjoys greater freedom because he has learnt to obey the recall whistle. He remains safe and healthy. 
If we follow the prescribed dosage on our medication, we maximise our chance of full recovery. 
In settings, policies and procedures should be our friend. By following them closely, we can work together with colleagues and enjoy collective support. 
And that brings us full circle to… 
Healthy things grow 
So, whenever we feel overwhelmed by the challenge of change, we can try to work out where we are in the cycle. With this perspective, we can work out what we need to put in place to emerge healthier and stronger. 
 
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