When you’re in the midst of a New Mexico divorce, you’ve got a lot of things to consider. Naturally, your kids are at the top of that list, and many factors in your divorce can cause them stress. One point that can be particularly upsetting for your kids is having to move between your house and where your spouse is living. Even the most easygoing child may feel anxious when dealing with two homes for the first time in his or her life.
Luckily, you can make this transition easier for your children with some simple practices and strategies. Try the seven tips below to get your children more comfortable with the idea of having two homes.
Aim for comfort
Comfort is a part of living somewhere happily, so you want your children to feel comfortable in both homes. Consider each of your children and what they need and want to feel comfortable somewhere. Basic necessities are a must here, but you should also consider special items or small treats that can help them feel even more at home when they’re staying with you.
Establish separate spaces
Even if your space is limited, you can still give each child some form of space in your home. If you can’t give them each their own bedroom, try a special space in the living room for toys for each of them or specific drawers in a shared bedroom. Have them decorate their own areas; it’s a small touch that can go a long way and help them feel special.
Keep items on hand
Have items for your children at each house so that visits aren’t full of packing and luggage. This includes things like clothes, toys, shoes, toiletries and craft supplies. Your children may have special items that they always carry with them, like a specific stuffed animal that they will take from house to house, but the idea here is to make both places seem like homes and less like just a place to visit.
Always have a routine
Stability is a must for happy kids, so you will want to have established routines involving meals, play time, homework and bedtime in both houses. This will help them feel more secure and less anxious about going between the two places.
Be as positive as possible
Whenever your children talk about the other house, try to respond positively, regardless of how you may feel about your spouse. You want your child to be able to tell you about something fun they did with their other parent without experiencing guilt.
Set smooth transition times
Transition times should be as smooth and simple as possible as that is best for your kids. Decide on a way to stay in touch with your children while they are at their other parent’s house that also respects the other parent’s time with your kids. You could, for example, talk to your child on the phone at the same time each day.
Don’t make your child a messenger
Don’t ask your children to report back to you about your co-parent or deliver messages, as this can make them feel more stressed out and caught in the middle. Set up a communication system between you and your co-parent and stick to it; this will keep things the most civil and avoid confusion.
Living between two homes won’t be easy for your children at first, but with these practices and some effort, you can make the experience as stress-free as possible for them. As you work through the divorce process with your attorney, it’s important to always keep what is best for your children at the forefront of your mind and actions.