Making the switch from one family household to two separate units can be a lot for a little mind to process – especially if the separation is fairly new. For many parents, the thought of stressing their children out with the transitioning process is a lot to handle mentally, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Here are six techniques you can use to help your child switch between households:
Offer a transition stuffed toy
There’s a certain level of comfort when a stuffed friend travels from home to home – despite who else resides there. Make sure your child has a specified stuffed toy that they bring on each transition, so regardless of the home they’re currently in, they’ll have something they can have with them all the time.
Send along a photograph of you and the family
Homesick children can often find themselves missing loved ones at the other house rather quickly – so make sure they have something to hold on to, even if it’s a small wallet-sized photograph. Chances are, it will remain hidden in a backpack or pocket until they return – but at least it is there if it’s needed. Feel free to send a few photos of your child with you, pets and other loved ones they’re likely to miss while they’re away.
Give them time to adjust
A normal adjustment period is to be expected for any child (much like you have needed time to process the divorce). Expect the normal schedule to take a while to embed into their mind and remain patient when they continue to ask questions about travel, duration or times apart from you. If it’s easier, consider writing the schedule on a calendar or agenda – so they can reference it again in the future.
Call and say good-night
If you want to help your child adapt to a separate household, make the arrangement to phone your little one just before bedtime. Make sure to keep the phone call upbeat and enjoyable – instead of feeding the upset or anxiety they have about being away from you. Feel free to ask them about their day and how they’re feeling – but don’t bring up your ex or other members of the household. Remember, you’re phoning to check in on your child, you’re not calling to get an update on your ex.