Transitions are an inevitable part of family life. Things change. Whether the transition involves a new teacher, which is common this time of year, or a new sibling, or even an older sibling who has gone off to college, change can be stressful for young people.

There are steps parents can take to smooth the transition for their children, according to the publication The Master Teacher.

First, let your children know that a transition is coming. If you have a family calendar, make sure to mark clearly the event and any steps that will occur leading up to it. Talk to your children positively about the fact that the change is coming and that the events leading up to it will be enjoyable.

Try to plan activities that will associate pleasant memories with the change — shopping together, going out for ice cream, or going to a community event such as a fair or festival. This helps make the transition easier for children.

Give children time to get accustomed to the idea of the change. Respect the fact that children need time to work through the feelings they are having. Whenever possible, make planning for the transition a joint endeavor.

Once your children have become resigned to the fact that the change will occur, listen to what seems to be important to them to do before the transition. It might be one last outing as a family, or a special time to play with a friend or visit relatives. Make an effort to fulfill that request.

Let the transition come naturally, without creating undue pressure. Change almost always creates uncertainty, even when it is viewed as a positive. For children, it can create anxiety and insecurity. Listen to the sources of that anxiety and try to face them positively, without denying your child’s fears.

Say things like, “Your sister will write and call you from college,” or any reassuring statement that is appropriate. These reassurances will not take away all your child’s feelings of uncertainty, but they will plant a seed of hope.

Transitions occur all through life. The better we can understand the responses to change, the better able we are to help our children cope with them.

— Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools.