filter image

The Positive Effects of Celebrations and Change

Change is a constant throughout our lives. It can also be the driving force behind some of our happiest moments and memories.

Written by: Early Educational Advisor - Jo Harris  

Celebrations are a big part of our daily lives, most easily recognised with the one every person celebrates annually, a birthday! For children, this is an event to easily become excited about as it is often associated with treat foods and presents. 

Birthdays are generally joyous occasions, providing enjoyable opportunities within a fun atmosphere. While not all young children know the date of their birth, they know that it is significant and memorable. As most children positively anticipate the joys of growing up, this is a distinct marker in time that allows them to experience opportunities often dissuaded from being enjoyed.

Universal end-of-year events like Christmas are rooted in religious significance, which is why they are so crucial to many families worldwide. Christmas marks a time of forgiveness, goodwill, and peace simultaneously, but other changes are also at play. Not every child celebrates Christmas at home. However, widening the concept of celebration to include multicultural events throughout the year, like Diwali, Hanukkah, Greek Easter and Chinese New Year, improves children’s feeling of inclusion in a broader sense. 

How transitions affect children’s development

Each day we are affected by change, although usually subtle, there are signs and indications of change in the way that we look, the way we feel, and what actions we take. Just like the change of seasons in nature, Winter signals a time of dormancy and cold and wet weather. This is most obvious with children's clothing changes or choices around different types of play to stimulate their learning.

Aside from physical differences, there are other changes at play in children’s lives that are more obvious because they are linked psychologically to growth. Moving to a new home, changing schools or rooms within a current service, change of an educator or the addition of a new family member are all situations in which emotions can become heightened as young children adjust to a new way of living and learning. 

 Preparing for Change and Celebration

While most celebrations are something to look forward to, it is vital to consider that some children may experience a range of emotions in the lead-up. As adults, we have life experiences to draw upon and the capability to process them as we need to. From a child’s perspective, they may show excitement but also feel uncertainty but may not be able to verbalise what it is they feel anxious about.

A good tip is to let children ask as many questions as they want and repeat them if required. For children who don’t feel as comfortable expressing themselves verbally, there is an opportunity to observe their behaviour and to be on the lookout for other signs to engage with them. This may be when adults observe noticeable changes that seem outside the norm. 

Resisting the urge to become over-enthusiastic or spend a lot of time focused on the change leaves emotional space for children to adjust to the impending change in their own time. 

The Positive Effects of Change

Change has many positive effects; most are inextricably linked to some transition. Getting bigger, getting stronger, and improving speech and motor skills are all positive changes that can be marked or celebrated along the way. As the year progresses and children become more adept in their skills through play, they seek change in the resources they select or are more purposeful in the kind of play they are engaged in. 

Children may not always be consciously aware, but their desire for stimulation through engagement with others is also constantly changing. Strengthening connections with others through relationships become even more meaningful as children mature in their outlook and understanding of the wants and needs of others in comparison to their own.

The Value of Understanding the Context of a celebration

When we have a personal connection or association with a celebration, it feels closer to us as we can relate to it as an integral part of our identity. Each culture has unique ceremonies and occasions commemorated throughout the year by sharing traditional foods and customs. 

Passing down wisdom and knowledge becomes a rite of passage between generations of families and communities. When children are actively involved, they can begin to interact more deeply with a social or emotional emphasis, making for more active engagement.

Completing a year together, children will share many occasions that involve change and transition. Infants and toddlers will celebrate achieving many physical milestones and a greater lean toward their growing independence. This might include progressing to solid foods, using a cup instead a bottle, or no longer requiring a day-sleep. 

Preschool children develop autonomy over choosing their friendships and enjoy being able to verbally articulate their preferences and express their feelings about the way things are changing in the world around them.


Celebrations at the end of the Year

The end of any year heralds growth, change, and transition milestones for us all. This offers the chance to reflect, celebrate our achievements and acknowledge any challenges we may have faced. 

For young children, the end of the year can also seem packed with celebrations, some traditional enjoyed with family and communities and some more individual and tailored to their personal development. Early Learning Educators have a vital role in helping children understand, navigate and enjoy these occasions without becoming overwhelmed or confused.

One of the most important transitions of a child’s life is when they are preparing to move from Early Learning to formal schooling. This can be a time of great excitement and anticipation, coupled with trepidation and nervousness and needs to be openly discussed, practised and familiarised as much as possible to demystify the changes ahead.


An essential part of embracing life is conquering the unknown's mysteries by focusing on the sometimes-unexpected benefits it can bring. When we share and make connections with others, there is the potential to see more possibilities for ourselves. 

Resources such as those created by Be You, “Australia’s dedicated national mental health in education initiative’ are free for educators and families to incorporate into daily practices as they support children to flourish with change through support, recognition, and celebration. 

Milestones are moments when children and families must not only celebrate but must prepare to adapt to new circumstances, expectations, people, environments, and routines. Transitions are essential to consider continuity between environments, expectations, and relationships and often require additional support and discussion. 

Change is a constant throughout our lives. It can trigger periods of confusion and anxiety. Still, when we learn through life experience, keeping compassion at the cornerstone of our thinking, it can also be instrumental as the driving force behind some of the happiest moments as we celebrate them through life events.

For more information and practical ideas that support critical thinking and reflective practices about the importance and positive aspects of celebration and change, please visit to read more


Related Articles

  • filter image

    Nurturing and Building Relationships with Natural Playspaces

    Learning about relationships can be simplified by focusing on the ever-changing cycles of the natural world. These can provide a metaphor for the importance of this within our human relationships.
    Read more
  • filter image

    Three R’s of Sustainability: Reduce, reuse, and recycle

    Teaching children about the environment and understanding how it works is an opportunity to also teach them about sustainability.
    Read more