Manage Change Like a Butterfly
Butterflies can help us teach kids to manage change and transformation. As the quote by Greek philosopher Heraclitus goes, “The only constant in life is change.” Navigating change and uncertainty are essential life skills we need to learn and practice. This year has given us more than enough opportunity to refine these skills.
When my son was in kindergarten, he cried when things weren’t as they were “supposed” to be. One day, he arrived at school to find the container that held the scissors was on the “wrong” table. Tears flowed. I realized early on teaching him to effectively manage change was going to have to be a priority. My husband, who thinks life would be perfect if everything was predictable and never changed, was probably not going to be the one to teach him. So, it was all me. But I was up to it, because I seek out change and see uncertainty as an adventure that will unfold and reveal something exciting.
Teach Kids to Manage Change with the Butterfly Transformation Cycle
A great way to teach kids about change and transformation as a natural way of life is to get a butterfly kit. This is the kit we got every year. At each stage of the transformation, we talked about what was happening, looking forward with great anticipation to the day when the butterfly would emerge!
The transformation a butterfly goes through in less than a month is incredible. It is a natural life process that follows a cycle.
Egg Stage – This is the beginning of something new. We can think about this stage in terms of what good might come from change and new circumstances. I always like to ask myself the question, “What good can come from this change?” In this case, we know eventually it will be a butterfly!
Larva (Caterpillar) Stage – At this stage, the caterpillar crawls out of the egg, it eats the egg and the leaf it was on. We can think about this eating as not focusing on the past but looking forward to the future. The caterpillar sheds its exoskeleton 4 or 5 times as it grows. We can relate this to the growth that happens when we lean into change and the discomfort that often comes with it. Our growth will cause us to shed some of the things we held near and dear to us. Loss and grieving are a normal part of the transformation process. We can ask ourselves, “What do I need to shed or leave behind to to see the beauty in this change?”
Pupa Stage – During this stage, the caterpillar finds something sturdy to hang on to when it grows its chrysalis. The pupa inside the chrysalis is no longer a caterpillar. The hard shell protects the pupa as it grows into an adult. Kind of like we do as parents, keeping our kids safe as they change and grow and preparing them to be independent and fly away. We can ask, “What do I need to feel safe and supported during this change?”
Butterfly Stage – After 10 or more days, the butterfly breaks out of the chrysalis. Once the butterfly dries out and extends its wings, it is ready to fly! The butterfly must go through all these changes to get to this stage, even when it’s uncomfortable (like when it outgrows its exoskeleton). We can ask, “What was the beauty or magic in this change?”
Embrace the seasons and cycles of your life. There is magic in change.” Bronnie Ware, Author
Amazing transformation can happen in one month!
This whole cycle takes about one month. Imagine what wonderful things can happen in the next month. You can ask your child to think about what they would like to happen in the next month and you can plan for those that you can control. Print this Butterfly Life Cycle color sheet and check out this great video about this transformation process with your kids.
I will leave you with this fun fact: Butterflies taste with their feet! I invite you to “taste” the magic of change and transformation.
Feel Well, Be Well, Do Well,
Co-Founder, ConnectHuman, maker of Connection Zoo