After your separation, your family needs some extra care to adjust to their new lives. With separation support, you and your children can not only survive the aftermath of separation, even better–you can thrive.
How to Get Back into a Routine
Children are more flexible than you might think. With adequate support, they can adjust to the new routine of visiting and staying in two homes. If your situation warrants and your children are mature enough, give them some input into where they wish to live. Make sure they know they can count on your love, no matter which parent they live with.
Choose a new home that’s close enough to your former partner or spouse to make the back-and-forth visits easier. The closer to your child’s school, the better. Keep up with school and extra-curricular activities for consistency.
How to Introduce Your Children to Their New Life
If you are the one that stays in your former home, allow your child to choose which clothing, toys, and toiletries he or she wants to keep in your former partner’s new home. Keeping familiar belongings in both homes reduces the last-minute rush when it’s time for a visit. Allow your children to shuttle their most special belongings back and forth in their travel bag, to give them a sense of security.
Create Familiarity in Your New Home
If you are the one who moves to a new home, make sure that your child’s new room resembles his or her old one as much as possible. Favourite toys, decorations—even the floor plan—should give your child a comfort zone in which he or she can retreat.
Introduce Lifestyle Changes as a Team
Both you and your former partner should sit down with your children to discuss each of your house rules. Just like children have different rules at school and at home, they can learn quickly to adjust to the differences in rules between your home and your former partner’s. Keep internally consistent within each home and you should have smooth sailing.
Consider a shared online calendar that keeps both you and your former partner on the same page about your children’s’ activities. Older children, too, can share the calendar so there won’t be any last-minute surprises when it comes to out-of-town trips and activities.
How to Co-Parent Even When You’re Separated
Just because you can’t live together under one roof does not mean that you can’t agree on parenting arrangements. If, however, you have difficulty communicating with your former partner, consider mediation to come up with a fair, flexible co-parenting arrangement.
Listen to Each Other
Listen to each other—and to your children. Keep things as consistent as possible for your children. Try to provide the children with a consistent schedule. Be flexible with your former partner’s schedule whenever possible.
Show Mutual Respect
Above all, show respect for each other’s differences and good points. Don’t ask prying questions about your former partner and his or her personal life. Avoid talking negatively about your former partner.
Sometimes some of the emotional baggage from your former relationship may return to haunt you. Gently remind yourself that you are no longer living with that person—and that even during tough negotiations, you have a private space to which you can retreat—your own home.
Keep your conversation positive as much as possible. Find the good in your former partner and think about that when you speak with him or her. Compromise whenever possible. When compromise is impossible, disagree agreeably—without personal malice. Keep tough conversations focused on issues, not personality differences.
Above All—Put Your Children First
When you put your children ahead of your often-raw emotions toward your former partner, all the other issues will fall in line. When you do that, you can see beyond the immediate into your children’s bright future.
To that end, the caring family law professionals at East Coast Law Family Law have written an e-book about just that issue. Going into depth to help you solve many of the challenges that face a family that has undergone a separation, this book can help you, your former spouse, and your children thrive throughout the process. Download Separation and Divorce: Putting Your Children First today.