Children with divorced parents usually split their time between both households, with the exact time split dependent on the parenting plan. This often means that the children spend some weekdays and some weekend days with one parent and the rest of the time with the other. When your kids come back from their other parent’s house, it is crucial you have some new routines in place so your child knows what to expect. Children need routines to feel safe and stable, which is very important for their development and well-being.
Your new routines can be a mix of normal and fun things. For example, one fun routine can be a night each week set aside to eat takeout pizza or watch a movie. A normal routine can involve something like making sure your kids do their homework right when they get home or dedicating one day a week after school to room cleaning. If you find yourself struggling to create or keep new routines in place for your kids, try the following tips below.
Keep Everything as Normal as You Can
It’s not uncommon to move to a new area soon after getting divorced. If you are moving, you may already be dealing with some issues stemming from your child’s reaction to the idea of moving. It is normal for a child to be upset at the idea of moving somewhere new since it is a major change to their lives and routines. Here, you can help ease the transition by sticking to their prior routine as much as you possibly can. Keep the bedtimes and mealtimes the same, for example. If your child attends classes for things like dance or martial arts, keep those classes up if possible.
It’s also vital that you get your child into their new school as quickly as you can. Going to school every day is a wonderful way to keep your child’s mind occupied and into a routine that they are already somewhat used to.
Speak to Your Ex
After a divorce, communication between ex-spouses often breaks down. However, if you are co-parenting with your ex, you must stay in regular contact with them and come to agreement on how to bring up your child together. You both must agree to help with any homework and discipline any trouble behavior in a similar fashion. For example, if you discipline your child by taking away their phone but your co-parent sends them to their bedroom, the child is going to receive some mixed messages. This can leave your child confused, especially about the seriousness of the behavior that got them into trouble.
In addition, keeping the same bedtime for the child between both houses is necessary. There is a strong link between academic performance and lack of sleep in children, so having your child on a regular sleep schedule no matter where they are is vital for their success at school.
If you have not yet done so, have a conversation about your child with your ex, including bedtimes, mealtimes and disciplinary measures. Even if you do not get along, you must try to have a civil and productive conversation focused solely on your kids. If your ex tries to bring up your relationship or anything else not related to your kids, remind them that you are only willing to talk about your children.
Divorce is an emotional and tough time for all involved, including your children. While making and keeping new routines for your children may not be the first thing on your mind after your divorce, it is something you need to do to help your child be happy.