Divorce is a period of adjustment for everyone involved. This includes the children because they are dealing with a major upheaval, too. They might not have the mental capabilities to deal with the changes, so it is up to the parents to help them to thrive amid the welter of emotions they are facing.
One of the primary ways that you can help the children is by setting up clear expectations for the child custody situation and include those in the parenting plan. Knowing the specifics about how everything is going to be handled can reduce the stress for everyone involved.
Set up open communication
It is easy to focus on communication between you and your ex, but you also need to loop the children in, when appropriate. Often, parents forget to ask their kids how they are feeling. Discussing the problems they are dealing with and taking your kids’ “emotional temperatures” can help you figure out what types of adjustments you need to make. It also helps you find ways to turn over some of the decision-making to the kids, when it is appropriate. They need to feel like they are in charge of some aspects of their lives.
Come up with clear duties
You and your ex need to establish clear guidelines about responsibilities. This can minimize discord about who should be doing specific tasks for the children. Put specific arrangements into the parenting plan so that it is all spelled out as clearly as possible. This help to avoid conflict down the road.
Keep things as consistent as possible
Children of all ages thrive on consistency. They need to know that they have some sense of stability at home. This can transverse both homes if you are able to keep some of the basic daily items the same. For example, there might be a mutual bedtime or curfew. You and your ex can set specific times for the children to read or work on homework. All of this comes together to show them that they are important and that they can count on their parents.
The most important thing for you to remember during this phase in your life is to prioritize the best interests of the children. You should never make a decision unless you are making it based on what the children need.