When parents break up or divorce, one of the most difficult adjustments they will make is dividing parenting time. But as upsetting as this can be for parents, it can be even more so for the children who must also try to adapt.
In Colorado, most courts will award joint custody, as long as such an arrangement is in the best interests of the child. This means that your children will likely be spending time with each parent separately.
To help your child through the challenges of transitioning home life and routine resulting from child custody changes, parents can take the following steps:
Maintain some consistency. As best you can, try to keep some normalcy for your child. This could be following the same schedule or bedtime routine, for instance. When something feels familiar, a child can feel more secure.
Ensure your child has his or her own space. Even if your child doesn’t have his or her bedroom, he or she should have their own space. This is especially important if you have moved into a new home.
Listen, listen, listen. Talking to your kids is critical during times of big changes. Listen to their concerns; answer their questions; let them express themselves, as long as they do so safely.
Find time for fun. Divorce is not fun. However, if you make some time for fun with your child, it can make the challenging times a little easier. It could be something as small as having ice cream for breakfast or as big as taking a trip together.
Use other ways to connect. During times of transition, children can feel especially scared and lonely. Parents can help their children cope by checking in on them through video chat or via texts. As long as these communications do not infringe on the other parent’s time, they can be of great comfort to a child.
Be patient. Don’t expect everything to make sense or go smoothly right away. Allow yourself and your child to have some tough times. Just remember that you will all get through the difficult times.
These tips can make it easier for a child to cope with moving back and forth and spending time with parents separately. And when children feel more comfortable, parents can feel better, as well.