Children are resilient, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t have some trouble transitioning when their parents divorce. Custody transitions seem relatively straightforward, but the truth is that they are not.
Children deal with a number of issues when parents divorce including:
- Adjusting to living with only one parent at a time
- Adjusting to a new home environment
- Spending time away from pets or siblings, depending on the situation
- Having their routines disrupted
- Getting to know new schools or programs
…and there are potentially many others.
The good news is that it’s possible to help your children adjust. Here are three ways you can make the transition from a two-parent household to a single-parent home.
1. Give your kids time to adjust to the idea of the divorce
The last thing you should do is suddenly tell your children that they’re going to a new home the next day or that they will not be returning to their home at all. It’s better to talk to them about your divorce and what they should expect in the future.
If you and your spouse will be selling your home, tell your children this and make them part of the moving process, having them help choose the next property you live in if there’s the opportunity to do so. As a parent, your goal should be to make this a positive experience, guiding them through each step and making sure they’re part of the process.
2. Talk to your children about choices
Another good way to help your children adjust to changes is to give them their own opportunities to make choices. From simple tasks like choosing the clothing they can take when visiting their other parent to giving them a choice of times to leave, they’ll feel better about having some control.
3. Have great communication options available
Today, it’s easy to stay connected. Children should have the opportunity to call their other parent, speak with them on a cellphone, use video chats or keep in touch in other ways if they want, or need, to. If your children get homesick, a simple phone call could be a solution that helps until they adjust. You and your ex-spouse should talk about when it’s acceptable for your children to call, so it’s not disruptive.
These are a few things that can help your children adjust to changes after divorce. These simple actions can make a difference in how your child feels as they transition into new living arrangements.