Going back and forth between two homes can be emotionally stressful for children. It is forcing them to grow up and become responsible sooner than they may be ready for depending on their age.
Additionally, the transition from mom’s house to dad’s house can cause a lot of distressed feelings that children aren’t prepared for nor do they have the coping skills to manage quite yet.
Some stressors your child may experience are remembering school items, managing mood swings or disengagement, or refusing to go to the other parent’s home. This can be even challenging for a parent to deal with, especially when you see your child hurting or acting out that isn’t their typical self.
Here Are 5 Ways To Help Ease The Transition For Children Of Divorce:
1. Create An Acronym For Their Belongings
Going back and forth between homes can be an emotional adjustment period for kids. It also can be more complicated when they need to transport items from one home to the other. From school books, electronics, blankets, clothes, sports equipment, and you name it, it can be a lot for a little one to remember. Also, as a parent, this can feel like a never-ending cycle of keeping track of everything. So, how do you make it easier? Create a fun acronym to remember their belongings.
For example, BAT can stand for Books, Attire, and Tablet, or NECK can mean Nighttime animal, Electronics, Clothing, and Kickstart attitude. Making it a fun acronym makes it easier to check off items in your head when running out of the house for exchanges and keeps it fun for the kids. Each household will vary depending on your child’s age and personal belongings.
2. Put Up A Calendar On The Fridge
Putting up a calendar on the fridge and color blocking as to which days they are at moms and which days they are dads can help your child see what their schedule looks like. This avoids abrupt changes and transitions from each parent’s home while giving your child clarity eases anxiety and frustration, just like it does for parents.
3. Discover Your Child’s Love Language
Children have their own love languages similar to adults. Knowing their love language can be a useful resource to implement on exchange days. For example, if your child’s love language is quality time. Spending twenty minutes with your child before they go to the other parents and upon when they return can help ease emotions and make them feel loved.
Or maybe they love words of affirmations. Sitting on the floor together and talking while offering words of encouragement can help them keep a positive attitude about going to the other’s parent's home.
4. Ask Your Child What Would Make The Transition Easier
While it may seem like a very simple idea, you’ll be surprised how your child can be helpful by suggesting what feels good. Children are very creative and honest thinkers. You may be surprised with how they reply to “What will make the transition easier between mom and dads?” They may come up with having snack time when they get back, going to the park together, or if they are teens they may ask for alone time. Each child will have their own unique response to this question.
5. Designate A Comfort Item
For the younger children, having a comfort item like a blanket or stuffed animal can make them feel a sense of ease while with the other parent. It’s an item they cherish and gives them a sense of peace that can go back and forth. As for teens, a weighted blanket, healing crystals, adult coloring books, or essential oils can help relieve their stress or anxiousness.