It is important for all children to have a well-established routine in their lives. This helps them develop familiarity and confidence as they grow up. It also promotes a healthier lifestyle in terms of both physical and mental health, allowing them to grow into healthier and well-adjusted adults. Unfortunately, there are times where a disruption to your child’s familiar routine can be harmful. In the case of divorces with shared custody, it is important to help your child adjust as quickly as possible to the notion of having two places to call home. To help you accomplish this, be sure to make use of some helpful advice you’ll find below.
Familiarity is Important
The shock of moving into a new home can be particularly trying for children of any age. In the circumstances surrounding a divorce, a move can be devastating for a child. A good way to reduce the amount of stress in your children’s lives that comes with a move brought on by divorce is to make sure there are familiar surroundings in the new home. For instance, you can do things like keep some of their favourite toys, in addition to things like a favourite night light. You can also keep up aspects of their old routine. If you cook a certain favourite dish on a given night of the week, you may consider continuing that tradition.
Value Their Input
Children can sometimes surprise us with how willing and able they are to participate, even in the wake of a stressful divorce and move. It is important to encourage your child to stay involved in some decision making around the house. This gives them a sense of belonging, while also letting them adjust to the permanence of the situation. Doing things like choosing paint colours for new bedrooms together can go a long way towards helping a child feel valued and important in their new situation.
It is important to remember that children are mostly unaware concerning the reality of your relationship with your former spouse. Some aspects of this new family dynamic can be exciting to your child, such as the prospect of a new room to decorate. It is important to resist the urge to compete with your new spouse for the affections of your child. The last thing they need at this time is more unexpected changes in their lives, so trying to “one-up” your ex by letting your child redecorate their old room is not the best course of action. Nor is having a dismissive attitude towards their new room. Showing anything other than kindness and support about their excitement could cause your child to feel guilty, which can be extremely damaging in the long run.
Clarity and Consistency
Changes of this sort can bring a lot of uncertainty into a child’s life. It is important that both you and your ex spouse remain consistent when it comes to rules and routine. You might want to start keeping a calendar prominent in both houses that helps your child keep track of their own schedule. Time spent at one house or the other can be indicated by different coloured days on the calendar. You may also want to write out some universal rules that apply to both houses in a clear and obvious spot. This communication will help save confusion and unwanted stress between you and former spouse, while maintaining some consistency for your child to alleviate anxiousness.
For more helpful advice, or to book a free initial consultation with one of our family law experts, be sure to contact us at Ganapathi Law Group today.