Being away from your kids after a divorce is never easy, but this transitional period is often exponentially harder on your kids. To alleviate the stress of the situation, use these tried and true tips to help your kids find comfort in their new routine after your divorce.
Find a New Home Nearby
It can be most helpful for your kids if you and you ex live near each other. This minimizes the travel time when shuttling the kids back and forth. Plus, maintaining the same familiar surroundings, whether at Mom’s house or Dad’s, is easier on them. This way, you can easily take them to a familiar playground, grocery store and their favorite restaurant. Close proximity also makes it easier for you on your days picking the kids up from school and getting them to and from their extracurricular activities.
When looking for a place to live within such specific parameters, it’s most helpful to use a search service like ForRent.com that offers filtered searching to help you narrow down your options. The less time you have to spend looking for a new place to live, the more time you’ll have to dedicate to your kids.
Make Your New Home Cozy
Just because you have a new bachelor pad, doesn’t mean it has to look like a single guy lives there. By making your new place as cozy and comfortable as your last home, you can help make it easier for your kids to adapt to the new surroundings. If furniture shopping and home decor are not your forte, enlist the help of your mom, sister a friend’s wife or even hire an interior decorator. If your kids are older, have them help decorate their new rooms so that they’ll look forward to spending time at your new place.
In addition to home decor, another thing that can help your kids feel more comfortable in your new home is having some of their own stuff that they keep there. By having a stash of pajamas, toiletries, their favorite books, toys and movies, you’ll minimize the amount of stuff that needs to be packed as the kids transition between staying at your place and with your ex.
Create a Simple Arrival Routine
The transition between your house and your ex’s house can be a rough one on your kids. Do everything that you can on your end to make this transition a smooth one by establishing a simple routine. This helps your kids know what to expect when they arrive at your house; consistency can be very comforting to children whose lives feel in flux.
Choose a routine that your kids will enjoy and can look forward to. Choose a low-key activity that is simple and can be done in your home, instead of something that requires you to go out to a busy public place. Simple activities like playing a game together, reading a book or taking a break to enjoy your child’s favorite snack or meal can be great ways to help your child adapt to the transition and bond with you.
Have a Consistent Schedule
Help your kids adapt to their new lifestyle of living in two homes by developing a clear schedule and sticking to it. Hang a large calendar on the wall in each of your homes with Mom’s days and Dad’s days clearly designated so that the kids can see at a glance where they will be throughout the month.
Divorce isn’t easy for anyone involved. But by working to keep your children’s surroundings familiar as well as being present and attentive, you can mitigate any confusion or frustration that they may feel.