Transitioning into a new environment with a divorced parent is one of the hardest things you can ask your child to do. These 6 hacks will help parents and children find success in adjusting to life in two households. Whether this is a new situation or one you have been living with for some time, our guidelines will allow parents and children to prosper when splitting time between two households.
Keep a similar routine. If your child always does homework after dinner, or has become accustomed to eating pancakes on Saturday mornings, try to keep that up at both households. Adjusting to a new environment can be tense and disruptive, but if you maintain the same routine your body will recognize the effort and allow for healthier habits to form.
Get organized. Use a calendar or planner to help keep track of where you are going and arrange schedules accordingly. Then, as assignments come up and plans are made, dedicate a spot on your calendar to noting what rotating items you need to for the week ahead. This is one of biggest challenges in navigating two households but if you take the time to get organized and prepare you should see success in the adjustment.
Leave essentials at both homes. Stock both homes with everyday items, multiple changes of clothes, and necessary medication. This will eliminate trips back to the other household while you should be spending quality time as a family.
Allow them to put their personality on it. Have your child bring pictures of their friends to hang on the walls and their favorite candle or soap. Bringing objects that reflect their personality and life will make your child feel like they have a life here. This is their space too and the new surroundings should reflect that. It will no longer be “dad’s new house” and turn into “our new house.”
Let them help decorate. Furniture and decor contributes how your child feels about their new home. Let your child make some of the choices around the house, or at least decorate their bedroom. They will form more of an attachment to this new place and feel more comfortable spending time there.
Be consistent. Rules and expectations should be similar between the two homes. If you are consistent your child is less likely to break rules or act out regarding consequences that don’t apply at one of the households. Having differing of rules between divorced parents guarantees confusion and disobedience. For the well-being of your family you must have agreed upon expectations for your child.
Settling into life in two different households is never easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult transitions you may face as a family. The best thing you can do to facilitate a healthy relationship with your children is to be organized, prepared, and consistent among both households.