Helping Children Adjust to Splitting Time Between Parents

When you file for divorce in California, a single household is divided in two. For you, that means dividing your finances and property and possibly finding a new house or apartment. For your children, it means having two places to call home. 

As a parent, you’re going to be concerned, because younger children in particular don’t welcome disruptions to their daily routines. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t bounce back quickly after the initial sadness and worry have worn off. With the right reassurance and support, your kids can adjust to splitting time between both parents and go on to thrive. In this blog, we present some tips for making the transition a successful one.

Tip #1: Make It Seem Like an Adventure

If the children express worry about the new home, point out the advantages. Is the back yard big? Is there a park nearby? A coffee shop or mall where your teen can hang out with new friends? When you can create a sense of anticipation, they’ll feel more positive about spending time at the new location.

Tip #2: Let Them Decorate Their New Bedroom

Tell them that they can furnish and decorate their new room any way they like (bearing your budget in mind). Even small children can pick out a paint color they like or a quilt with their favorite superhero on it. Having a say in the decision-making process will give them a sense of ownership and create engagement.

Tip #3: Add Some Familiar Touches

Too much change, even if it is presented in a positive light, can overwhelm a child. Add some familiar items like a favorite set of dishes, a scented candle like the one currently on their nightstand, or a quilt that’s been used on their bed at home. You and your former spouse should coordinate what items should be split between the households or ensure that your child’s travel bag is packed with anything extra-special before they leave for the weekend or overnight.

Tip #4: Maintain Dual Calendars

Use a family calendar that clearly highlights which days the kids will be spending with you and which ones will be spent with their other parent. This system makes it easier for them to keep track of where they will be and when. Older children and teenagers can use a digital platform like Google Calendar while younger kids will benefit from a wall or fridge calendar with the days highlighted in bright colors.

Tip #5: Agree on Ground Rules

Come up with some rules that the children will be expected to follow in both households. For example, finishing their homework before they can watch TV or use the computer, going to bed and waking up at the same time, and not asking one parent if they can do something that the other parent has already refused.

Tip #6: Do Not Compete

If your marriage did not end on amicable terms, hearing your child enthuse about how he loves Dad’s “cool new house” could trigger the urge to compete. Don’t do it. Parenting should never be treated as a competition: instead, focus on showing your children love and giving them the best possible life under your roof.

KL Family Law is Here to Help!

Helping your children adjust to two different households can be challenging in the beginning, but over time, they will adapt and move forward. At KL Family Law, we have helped many divorced parents put together a visitation schedule that maximizes their time with the children and supports a happy, stable relationship. For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.

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KL Family Law

At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

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