Simple strategies to help ease children into a new routine and live happily in two different homes.
When it comes to divorce, going from one home to two is a challenge for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for children.
As your family begins to settle into a new “normal” after divorce, establishing two seperate homes can seem daunting. The back and forth between two houses can be hard on everyone, so we’ve gathered 5 tips to make the transitions as smooth as possible.
- Come up with a set schedule that works for everyone for pickups/drop offs. Also include back up options and emergency contacts if the need should arise. Make a checklist with the things to bring over to the other house so they feel secure in knowing that they have everything they need. This is especially important with school age children so they can keep track of any school assignments or homework they need to work on
- Give them their own space whenever possible. Let them decorate their own room or area. Have some duplicate items at both houses to give them a sense of comfort and also to avoid bringing things back and forth between houses for every visit. Do some arts and crafts or other fun projects that can be included in their new space.
- Keep things civil. Even if you’re not on the best terms with your ex-spouse, avoid bringing up issues or starting arguments during drop offs or pick ups. When your child talks about positive things at your ex-spouse’s home, try to be positive and avoid making comments about the other parent. Refraining from making any negative comments about your ex-spouse is extremely important. It only serves to make things worse on the child caught in the middle
- Call or stay in contact with your child. Whenever they’re at their other parents home keep a clear line of communication with them. This might be a Facetime call or phone call after dinner or before bedtime so they’re still able to see or talk to you like they would have before. This may also depend on the age of the child and might be needed earlier on in the separation process
- Maintain the same routines. Keeping simple things like homework, screen time and bedtime the same at each house keeps a sense of normalcy and also still shows a united front between the two parents even if they’re in different homes. With a changing family dynamic and setting, routines can help children feel more settled when things feel new and different
Every family and home situation is different, but the overall goal is to help your child maintain a sense of security and a feeling of comfort in both of their homes, especially during a time of big adjustments.
There are some children’s books that may help your child get a better understanding of their current situation and see that they’re not the only ones going through it. Some different suggestions based on your child’s age and reading level include: We’re Having a Tuesday, The Invisible String, and Two Homes Filled with Love: A Story about Divorce and Separation.
And last but not least, keep an open mind and an open line of communication about the situation.
If a certain schedule, routine, or something about the new home isn’t working for your child – try something else. It’s going to take a little while for everyone to feel comfortable in this new situation, so it may take some tweaking to get things just right.
Child custody and support matters are top priority for our firm when it comes to divorce cases. If you need assistance with determining custody or child support agreements, contact our firm today to set up a consultation.