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Prince William & Princess Kate's methods to help their children navigate change - parenting expert explains

The royal family have been through a very difficult time

prince william kate middleton
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
26 September 2022
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The Prince and Princess of Wales were keen to keep a sense of normality for their children amid the Queen's death, choosing to keep them at school throughout their emotional family upheaval.

LOOK: Supernanny reacts to Prince William and Princess Kate's 'careful' parenting at Queen's funeral

Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, four, who started at Lambrook School on 8 September, could never have expected their first day at the Windsor-based prep school would be veiled by the sudden news of their 96-year-old great-grandmother's death. So how did the royals navigate this major family change?

WATCH: Princess Charlotte's impeccable behaviour impresses royal fans

HELLO! sat down with parenting expert Rachel FitzD, who shared her insight on how to soothe a child as they go through a major life change. Be it starting a new school, adjusting to a new home or coping with a family death, scroll on to discover how best to help your child through a difficult time.

MORE: How Princess Kate reassured her children during heartbreaking funeral

READ: The Queen's gift for great-grandchildren George, Charlotte & Louis that ensures they'll never forget her

How to help your child navigate a difficult life change

"Acknowledging your child's worry without trying to minimise it or 'rescue' them from it helps them to know that their feelings are normal and that you understand them," explains Rachel.

Rachel suggests using sentences like: "Starting a new school can be scary. It can make us feel worried," in conversation with your children helps to normalise their feelings or anxiety.

george louis charlotte

The Wales children recently moved to Windsor with their parents

She also recommends inviting your children to share their suggestions on what might help. For example, you could ask: "When you are at school and feel worried, what could you do?" - a strategy that Rachel describes as a "them-shaped strategy, not a you-shaped one."

"Remember it is OK for your child to try their strategy, for it to fail, and for them to have to try a different approach - this helps them build a sense of themselves as capable and good problem-solvers as well as growing their resilience," explains Rachel.

Children also benefit from having their fears and worries calmly listened to without judgement or parents diminishing them. So: "'A family death is big and scary. I can understand why you are upset and worried,' is actually a more helpful phrase than listing all the reasons why they don't need to be worried," she adds.

RELATED: 7 expert tips on how to help a child deal with grief

Try not to work your child up about an upcoming event

Rachel explains that many parents make the mistake of "over-preparing" their child for a big life change such as moving home, or starting a new school. "Making a big deal about it and spending weeks dredging over all the details can simply build anticipation and anxiety," she says.

wales children school

The Wales children started school earlier this month

"It is just 'going to school' and it is going to be a daily occurrence now and for many years to come so the more you normalise this, the better.

Ultimately, Rachel adds that: "Children are remarkably flexible and resilient as long as they know they can rely on the constancy of their parents’ love, support and understanding."

Rachel FitzD is a baby and parenting expert and author of "Your Baby Skin to Skin". She is also a regular speaker at which is taking place from 21-23 October at Olympia London.

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