It can be a difficult adjustment for everyone in the family when you’re going through a divorce or separation. As a parent, you should always be mindful of the impact that a divorce can have on your children and do everything in your power to help make it as smooth a transition as possible. Luckily, it is possible to live in harmony as a separated family. Here are a few tips to help your family adjust to the change.
Provide Your Kids with What They Need to Feel Comfortable
Ensuring that kids have everything they need to feel comfortable at both homes is a must. This may mean buying duplicate items in some cases so that they don’t have to pack up a bunch of items every time they switch homes. This definitely means having the necessities, such as a safe place to sleep, clothing, and food, but it could also mean thinking about special treats and items that will make your kid happy. Think about what they love and do your best to provide them with those items to help them feel special.
Give Kids Their Own Space in Both Homes
Having a fun kid room in both homes will help your kids adjust to the change by giving them something to look forward to at the new home. If your home isn’t large enough to accommodate a room for each individual kid, this may just mean reserving a specific area for their toys or a drawer for their clothes. Be sure to show kids their space and let them know that it’s all theirs to decorate as they please.
Keep Up with Routines
It’s no secret that children respond well to structure and any amount of stability that can be maintained in their life can help ease this transition. Keep up with any routines that they typically are used to, regardless of which house they’re staying at. This may mean going to bed at a certain time, maintaining a bedtime routine, or even cooking specific foods for breakfast for them. By keeping consistency with routines children won’t feel as much anxiety about switching from house to house, since they’ll know what to expect.
Maintain A Positive Mindset
Your kids will likely have moments of frustration, during which they express negative emotions regarding the separation. It is important to pay attention and listen closely to them during these times so that they can feel seen and heard. Allow them to express their anger without trying to undermine or distract them from their emotions, but also try to help them see the bright side of things. By keeping a positive mindset yourself, you can help your kids do the same to help them get through this challenging time.
Make Sure Your Kids Are in the Know
It’s important to keep your kids on board with which house they will be going to and when so that they never feel like switching homes is sprung on them unexpectedly. You can make a calendar for them or just make sure to always give them a warning ahead of time. If they’re having trouble with missing one parent when they’re away at the other’s home, try scheduling a phone call or video chat at some point during their time away to check in.
Never Involve Children in Relationship Drama
It is hard enough for kids when their parents are separating, so the last thing they need is to be caught up in the middle of any relationship issues or drama. Never ask kids to spy on the other parent or to be a messenger for you. Always set a positive example for your kids when dropping them off by remaining civil toward their other parent and always speaking to each other with respect.
Make Sure Both Homes are Kid-Friendly
It is important to make sure that both homes are kept kid proof and kid-friendly. Ensure that both homes offer designated play areas and have plenty of kid-friendly features. Keep both homes kid proof where necessary so that they always offer a safe environment. Children will feel more welcome when moving from house to house. Just because your children won’t always be at your house doesn’t mean that you should stash away all of the kid’s items. You want your child to feel welcome when they come to your home and by having their items available, you’ll help them feel special.
Involve Kids in Decision Making
One parent will most likely be moving into a new home. When it comes to moving into a new home, having your child involved in the decoration and decision making can make them feel more involved. Let them choose the decor and paint colors for their own room or for other rooms in the house. By letting them have some control, it can help them cope with the imminent changes.
It can be easy to fall into relationship drama when going through a separation or divorce. Some parents start to feel the need to compete with the other parent. Your child might be excited about having a new room at the other parents house but this doesn’t mean that you should completely redecorate their old room at their house. Adding in more change to an already insecure time can make your child feel even less comfortable.
Communication is Key
Open communication with your kids as well as the other parent is absolutely vital when going through a separation. You have to include your kids in what’s going on and avoid keeping secrets from them. By being open with them yourself, you’ll be encouraging them to open up to you about how they’re feeling. Obviously, this will be a challenging change for everyone so it is the perfect time to lean on one another to improve your bond as a family. Try to show your kids that even though a lot is changing, a lot is also staying the same. Your kids still have the same two parents they’ve always had, the living situation will just be a little different. By explaining more about why you’re separating to them, it can help them understand the situation and process it. These can be challenging conversations to have but they are so entirely worth it.