Following a divorce, children will need to adjust to the new visitation schedule and getting acquainted with the non-custodial parent’s new home. With so much change going on, children may feel overwhelmed and stressed. As a parent, there are a few things you can do to make this transition easier and make your child feel more at home.
Create a Familiar Environment
It can be stressful and overwhelming for a child to adjust to so many new changes, and that includes your new home. Creating a familiar environment can help ease anxiety and make your child feel more at home.
Talk to your ex about splitting some of the child’s items between households. This way, your child can bring some familiar items to your new home. Maybe your child has a favorite night light or teddy bear. Adding these items to the child’s new room will make her feel more comfortable and at ease.
Do the Same Things You Enjoyed Doing Before the Divorce
Your living situation may have changed, but that doesn’t mean you have to change everything about your life. If you used to take your child out to the movies every Friday night, continue that tradition. Continue taking trips to the park and doing all of the same things you used to enjoy doing together before the divorce.
Conversely, you can create new traditions that your child will look forward to each time she visits or stays for the night.
Avoid Talking Badly About Your Ex
Divorce can be hard on children. Don’t make it any harder by talking badly about your ex during visitations or overnight timesharing. Do your best to create a positive, encouraging and nurturing environment. After all, your ex is still your child’s parent, and your relationship should not affect theirs.
Also, avoid trying to compete with your ex. If your child is excited about her day at the zoo with your ex, show some enthusiasm. Minimizing the conflict and negativity between you and your ex will make the entire transition less stressful for your child.
Keep Essential Items on Hand
Packing and unpacking can be exhausting. It also keeps your child from feeling truly at home whenever she visits. Keep essential items on hand to minimize packing time and make your child feel like she has a place in your new home.
Experts recommend keeping toiletries, spare clothing and pajamas on hand. Make sure that these are all items your child approves of. Keeping a collection of their favorite books and movies is also a great idea and will make your home feel more welcoming.
Set Roles for Switch Days
Many experts recommend that the parent who had been keeping the child be the one to drop the child off on switch days. This way, the other parent does not interrupt a special moment or take the child away too early.
Make sure that you and your ex agree on an arrangement for these days to make the transition easier on both you and your child.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm focusing exclusively on family law for men and fathers. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.