Life is unpredictable. It’s full of unexpected twists and turns, and if you’re a parent this is even more true! However, divorce tends to rock the boat more than usual, and this is never more true than when it comes to children. So what can you do to keep the drama to a minimum? Well, there are probably a lot of options, but one the more critical things a divorced parent can do to make parenting easier for themselves and their kids is to create a stable environment. Maintaining as much predictability as possible is beneficial for both you, and your children!
Children need stability and structure.
Kids have very little control in their own lives, so predictability is very important to them. Knowing that while things may seem out of control and changing rapidly, everything is going to be okay. The best way, to achieve this, is to reaffirm them regularly. Remind them that you still love them very much and that they’re still a vitally important part of your life. However, it’s important to remember that verbal assurances, while they help, are only part of creating a stable environment.
Children who have to move back and forth between two households often struggle to adapt to the changes. Sometimes it can take them several days to settle into a new routine. For kids who spend part of a week with one parent and then the rest of the week with another, the transition can be particularly hard. In some cases, about the time they settle into the routine at one home, they’re required to move to the other. That makes settling into any kind of schedule really difficult.
Make up a schedule, and then stick to it!
Creating a schedule for daily life can be very helpful, both for you and for your kids. While it probably won’t help much with the issue of switching back and forth, it will help to create a sense of structure in your home. Thankfully, it also won’t take long for your children to realize that they are safe and life is predictable in your home. Eating meals at roughly the same time every day while they are with you, and perhaps even eating together is one thing you can do to help foster that sense of structure.
Other ideas include creating an evening routine, especially for younger children. Choosing a time to have a bath, brush teeth, put on pajamas and read stories would provide an anticipated end to each day. You could also instigate things like “game night” or “movie night” where you pick one fixed evening per week to enjoy board games together, or watch a favorite movie and eat popcorn. Children enjoy these kind of rituals, which provide both pleasure and a sense of structure.
You can’t control everything, but you can do your part.
You have no way to control what happens at your ex’s house, so the best thing you can do is put it out of your mind. Stressing about things you can’t control will only make you unhappy, and that’ll have a negative effect on your kids. Focus on what you can control – your own home – and then work to create an orderly environment and manageable routine for your family. It will make life better for everyone.
If you or a loved one are considering divorce, and are concerned about how best to structure your custody arrangement, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled family law attorneys can help you. But remember, it takes both parents’ efforts to be truly successful when creating structure. If you’re simply unable to communicate with your spouse, and you feel a change of custody, parenting time or support would be in the best interests of your children, contact us today to discuss your case with someone who can help.