When you go from having one home to having two of them, it may seem like there is a lot of benefits. To adults, the thought of having multiple homes is liberating and gives room for flexibility; to children, it is confusing a bit unsettling. There is one home with mom and one with dad, so how do we keep their routines and schedules as normal as possible?
Although the process is stressful when it’s still in the early stages, children suffer no harm from having two homes as long as the parents keep a good relationship between them.
Here is how you can make sure they stay as comfortable as possible wherever they are, and even make them a bit excited at the prospects.
Let your kids have a say
When you want them to be comfortable in both homes, it’s vital that they get to be involved in the furnishing and decoration of the new place. Many parents fail to notice how much of an impact they can make in preparing their children for the big changes, and they choose to get the matters over with as quickly as possible.
Just like you would have involved your children in picking out furniture when moving houses, you should also let them tag along when furnishing your new home – even if it’s just a small apartment.
Remember that, although you’d like your children to love the home they have with you as well, you need to allow them to gush about their other home as well. That new bed, for example, or the awesome color they have on their walls; don’t spoil their excitement by showing resentment when they talk about it.
Another important point to this is to resist the urge of giving their old rooms a big makeover. Even if you have an uncontested divorce lawyer who has settled everything for you, it’s important to keep talking to each other about the changes – and to ensure that the parent who stays behind is able to step out of the spotlight a bit.
Sure, you want them to be just as happy and excited about staying with you as their other parent, but more change is the last thing they need in their lives.
If you are the parent who stays behind in the first home, let them enjoy their regular lives and normal routines when they’re with you. It is safety and structure, after all, which is what children need the most – not a competition between you and your ex.
Find common ground
Just because you’re not a couple anymore doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to work together in raising your children. They will still need a set of ground rules that should be followed in both homes, which may include that when one parent says no to something, they’re not supposed to ask the other one – or something as simple as a set hour for doing homework.
To keep common rules that applies to both homes means that your children get to enjoy their routines even though everything else is changing.
And it won’t be that strange going over to dad’s place one week, and mom’s the next when you both share the same rules, mindset, and values on how to raise children.