If you are going through a divorce or considering a trial separation, you are probably worrying about how the transition may affect your children. While changes within the family unit can indeed prove difficult for your children, there are several steps you and your partner or ex-partner can make to help ease the transition and minimize the impact it has on the them. If your child must split time between two homes, the following list of ideas can soften the blow and ultimately help make both locations feel like home.
Let the child have a hand in decorating
Shuffling back and forth between homes has its downfalls, but by allowing your child to take part in decorating or designing his or her new space, you are sending a message that, no matter what, the child's thoughts and wishes are important to you. Furthermore, you are helping your child create a unique, personalized space adorned with the colors, toys and décor that make he or she feel most comfortable, making it a place they'll likely look forward to visiting when the time comes.
Stock essentials at both homes
Going from one home to another can start to feel like a chore if it involves considerable packing and preparing each week, month or whatever schedule you work out, so make the back-and-forth routine easier on everyone by stocking essentials at both homes. The less your child must live out of a suitcase, the more he or she will likely feel comfortable in a new space.
Put up a picture of the other parent
Sure, it may make you cringe to look at a picture of your ex-partner for a while, but this falls into the category of "taking one for the team." By placing a framed photo of the other parent in your child's room, you are not only offering up a reminder that the child has two loving parents, but you're also demonstrating maturity by minimizing any bitterness between the two of you, at least, in the presence of your child.
Attempt to show enthusiasm
Whatever your personal feelings about your child going to spend time with the other parent, put them aside and present a brave face. Your child has two parents who want his or her time, and that in and of itself is something of which you can be proud. Try and show a little enthusiasm ahead of the next transition, and you may also want to remind your child a few days in advance so that the move is anticipated and doesn't come as a surprise.
Family transitions are rarely easy, but it is important to respect the other parent, even if for no other reason than they hold that title. For more information about what you can do to help ease your child through a divorce or separation, consider contacting an attorney.