The breakup of the family unit is difficult for everyone, especially children. While you and the other parent may be hurt, angry or dazed over the divorce, the welfare of your kids is top priority.
Now there will be two homes with the kids moving back and forth between. Here are four tips to make this transition easier:
1. Packing plan
Having to pack each time the children go to one home or another is stressful. Make sure certain staples are kept at each home, such as pajamas, spare clothing, toiletries, books, even certain kinds of sports equipment. Young children may want to take a favorite toy or stuffed animal back and forth. Help young ones pack a bag the day before as a reminder that they are going to spend time with the other parent soon.
2. Familiar spaces
Children should have their own private spaces in the new home, like a bedroom, a closet and shelf space that is all theirs. Ask them to help choose items for their bedroom, such as new sheets, new pictures or perhaps an accent paint color. Ask their thoughts as often as possible on various topics, and get them involved in projects around the new house so that it becomes more like “home.”
3. Ordinary routine
Children expect routine; in fact, they thrive on it. Maintain as much of the daily routine that they were accustomed to prior to the divorce as you can. This may mean getting up and going to bed at the usual times, doing homework at the usual times or maintaining the tradition of pizza and movie time on Saturday nights.
4. Common ground
There should be common ground in certain respects between you and the other parent; despite the divorce, you are still a team with regard to raising your children. Set ground rules to be followed in both homes, for example. Write them out on whiteboards in both places so your kids know what to expect.
Handling stumbling blocks
Post-divorce life is not an easy thing for children to handle, and there will be times when you do not know what to do. Remember that this is a learning experience for everyone. However, love, determination and an effective co-parenting plan along with professional help when you need it will get you through.