One of the most difficult things for children to adjust to when their parents get a divorce is learning to live in two homes. It is important that you give your children what they need so that they can be comfortable in your home.
Consider these tips to help you find ways to help your child adjust to life in two homes.
Set the rules clearly from the start
It is all too easy to think that you need to make things as easy as possible for your child when the divorce is still new. This is understandable. However, you need to set the major rules of your house clearly from the start. You might find it very difficult to enforce rules when you let the child get away with breaking them for the first few days or weeks after the split.
Give your child space
If possible, give your children their own space at your home. This could be their own room if there is space for that. It could even be a special drawer that is just for them. If your children need to share a room, letting them each have their own dresser and bed might help.
Keep a routine when your child is with you
Children thrive on routines. Find a routine that works for your home and stick to it. Younger children might need some parts of the routine, such as bed time, to remain consistent between the two homes.
Don’t expect your child to act like an adult
During a divorce, parents sometimes begin to treat the children like adults. Even when it is tempting to do so, such as if you have older children, you shouldn’t pull them into the divorce matters. Don’t demean your ex to them and don’t expect that they will act as a spy when they go to the other parent’s home. Remember, you child didn’t ask for the divorce so your focus needs to be helping your child to feel loved and secure in the new situation.
Minimize the stress of transition days
Transition days are hard for some children. You can minimize the stress by making sure the child knows when the day is going to happen. Keeping a calendar on the wall of your home that is marked with the child custody schedule might help your child. Additionally, it could help if you arrange to have the parent who currently has the child drop him or her off to the other parent.