1. Make a plan as soon as possible and stick to it.
a. It is a major adjustment when parents split up. The sooner they have a set schedule the sooner they will have a “new normal”.
b. Transitions are especially difficult for children so reducing the number of transitions can be helpful.
2. If possible keep routines and rules the same at both houses.
a. It is less to adjust to if environments are not drastically different. Behavior problems can occur when there is too big of a gap between environments. There are times when it’s not possible to make both environments the same. When that happens just do your best to be consistent on your end.
3. Make a visual calendar for your child to see when he/she will be where.
a. A visual tool to help children understand when they will see their parents next can help with anxiety and missing the other parent.
4. Allow your child to have an item to take with them for when they miss you.
a. Having a picture book of mom or dad, a blanket, or stuffed animal that reminds them of mom and dad can help them when they are feeling lonely.
5. Don’t talk bad about your ex.
a. It’s hurtful to children to hear negative things about their parents. It could hurt their relationship with you and your ex. It is not in the best interest of anyone. *This also includes not talking bad about your ex’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
6. Do NOT encourage your child to take sides.
a. That will only hurt the entire family. Do your best to help your child stay positive about both parents. (even if one is a dirt bag)
7. Allow your child to talk about their feelings.
a. Allow your child to open up and don’t take it personal if they are struggling. Part of how they will heal is getting those emotions out.
8. When talking about why you split up keep it simple.
a. Don’t go into whose fault it is or what either of you did wrong. This is not an opportunity to bad talk your spouse.
9. Consider counseling if you and your ex cannot communicate effectively about the child.
a. Having a third party to discuss schedules, rules, and boundaries can be very helpful when emotions are too high post-divorce.
Remember children of all ages can sense tension. It is in your children's best interest if you can get along. You don't have to like each other but being civil and working together goes a long way for your child's mental health.