Separate homes: Helping your children adjust

There are several things that parents can do to help their children adapt to living in two homes instead of just one.

When children are involved in a divorce, it is important for parents in Sarasota to understand that this is a traumatic event for them. One parent is essentially moving out of the home and this means that instead of one house, children will now have to live in two. This can be difficult for children, regardless of their age, to do but there are ways that parents can help them adjust.

Make sure that children have things in both homes

Parents magazine recommends that one way to help children is by making sure they have things in both homes. Personal items can include the following:

  • Movies
  • Pajamas
  • Toys
  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste

The less things that children have to bring with them when they switch homes, the quicker they will develop a sense of security in a strange and unfamiliar place. Parents in the new place can also help make it welcoming to children by the presence of a favorite teddy bear, a special place mat or even a rocking chair.

Get children involved

Parents are often encouraged to talk to their children and to reassure them that their parents are still in their lives. One way to continue this is to involve children as much as possible with their secondary home. For example, they can help choose the color of their new room, pick out furnishings and select the decorations for the walls or windows. This can help give them a feeling of ownership and make the transition easier.

If there is a yard, the parent can set up a play area and designate a place where the outdoor toys are to be kept. Children could even be encouraged to grow their own vegetable or flower garden.

Keep schedules the same as much as possible

Children thrive when they live in a scheduled environment, especially younger ones who interpret it as a reassurance of security. To avoid issues for the child, HelpGuide, a well-being and mental health nonprofit, states that parents should try to make sure that children go to bed at the same time, eat at the same time and that homework is done after they get home from school.

Discipline and house rules

Nothing is more conflicting for children than having two sets of rules to follow and dealing with different punishments. Parents should work together to make sure that these two areas are as similar as possible. For example, if a child is punished with no access to the computer for aggressive behavior, then the punishment should extend to the other parent's house too. House rules should also remain similar - doing chores, keeping their room clean, homework before play and so forth.

When matters concerning children grow contentious, it can greatly affect a parent's relationship with the children. Therefore, parents in Florida may want to meet with an attorney to discuss their concerns.