One of the primary challenges that Virginia parents face is helping their children get used to the idea of dividing time between Mom and Dad – and living in two households. It is difficult for children to feel at home in two places at first, while they grow accustomed to life post-divorce.
How can parents help their children adjust to these changes?
How to make two houses feel like home
If parents want their children to feel comfortable in both homes, then they should endeavor to make their children feel like they belong in both of these spaces.
Therefore, parents should consider three critical factors:
1. Make sure children have their own space in both households. Whether it is their own bedroom or a bedroom shared with their siblings, individuals of any age need to have a space they can call their own. It provides a place of comfort and physical connection to the household. Parents might also let their children decorate this space as they choose or involve their children in the decorating process.
2. Keep essential items in both houses. Both parents should ensure they keep duplicates of the child’s necessities in each home, such as toothbrushes, shampoo and even sets of clothing. This prevents children from feeling like they must pack up their things each time they transfer houses according to their parent’s custody arrangement. In turn, this helps children feel more comfortable – and more at home – in both of their parents’ households.
3. Maintain a routine. Establishing a routine and structure in both households helps children feel that they are at home, rather than visiting. As excited as parents might be to have their children with them, avoid making it seem like a novelty. Take measures to make it feel normal. This may also include maintaining the child’s activities and access to friends.
While these three steps are important, it will still take time for children to adjust.
It always bears repeating that communication is critical if parents wish to have a successful co-parenting relationship and arrangement. Parents should maintain regular communication to ensure they are upholding their child’s best interests and needs as they transition between households. If telephone calls are challenging, there are many communication tools available to help streamline communications, share calendars, and even track and share expenses.