The importance of keeping the children’s interests at heart and the best ways to handle communication with children is often emphasized through the divorce process. No matter how old the children may be, they react to their parents’ divorce in different ways. What happens to the children after the divorce process is completed? One parent may be moving out of the family home and starting new in a different place and, in some cases, the family home may be sold and everyone will move. While it is a new beginning for that parent, it is also a brand new home for the children. What can you do to help make your new residence a comfortable second home for your children?
Keep the children informed throughout the transition
First and foremost: make sure the children are kept in the loop. Age will definitely come into play here because the subject will be approached differently depending on the age of the children. Talk with the children about what will happen and when. It is always best if you and your former spouse present a unified front whenever possible.
Involve the children in the move-in and decorating process
Moving into a new place can be a great time to organize and refresh your own personal space. Bringing your children into the process will allow them to really feel like a part of your new home. There are many ways that your children can create their own space within the new home. Whether your children are sharing a room or a child will have his or her own bedroom, encouraging them to help decorate and organize their own space will let them know that this is also their home. It is healthy for you to recognize that your children may want to bring their own personal items to both homes.
Try to stick to the children’s routine as much as possible
It can be tough on kids to go from seeing a parent every day to seeing them on certain days of the week, but sticking to the child’s regular routine can help his or her comfort level in each parent’s home. During the week, try to maintain the pattern of homework, television time, etc. that has been kept in the family home. Even on the weekends, keeping something as simple as the child’s bedtime can help reinforce the idea that this isn’t just a “weekend home” – it is the child’s “home” (without any qualification).
Allow the children to keep in touch with the other parent
A way to maintain stability for the children is for both parents to continue to communicate with the child on a regular basis regardless of where they are residing. A normal issue during the divorce process is to address the frequency and manner of communication with a parent while the other parent is with the child. Some families come up with a certain schedule, phone/Skype hours, etc., but the important thing is to address this. Being in a new place can be scary for children, even with a parent there. Sometimes children just need the opportunity to call their mom or dad in order to feel more comfortable in their new second home.
Remember: It won’t happen overnight!
Don’t get discouraged if your children aren’t warming up to your new home as quickly as you’d like. The transition of a new home can be difficult for some children. That does not mean that they will not adapt, it will just take time. Children are going through the divorce process just like you and your former spouse, so a new home can add to the emotions they already have. However, if you keep open lines of communication and make sure your children know they can talk to you about their feelings, the process may be a little easier.