Following the divorce or separation of you and your spouse, the dynamic between you and your kids will likely change. Here are a few parenting tips that can help strengthen your relationship with your children during this difficult transition.
1. Prepare for parent time
Now that you’ll be separated from your kids part of the time, you’ll need to put more effort into how you’ll spend time with them. Whereas you may have spontaneously decided to go to a movie or play a game of catch before, you’ll need to plan these activities ahead of time now.
Ask your children for suggestions and follow their lead. If they’re stumped, suggest playing a new board game every week, invent a scavenger hunt, pretend to open your own art museum or visit a theme park.
Set new rules
Transitioning to life after the divorce will be challenging for everyone. But as much as children may think they hate rules, establishing some order will be helpful for them — and for you.
Be prepared to get some backlash — especially if you are establishing rules you didn’t enforce during your marriage. The key is to explain that there are different rules at each parents house just like there are different rules at school or a friend's house.
Be present even when you’re not around
It can be very difficult for parents and children to spend less time together after a divorce. One way you can still be there for your children when you’re not around is through mementos.
Mementos you can gift to your child could include:
- A framed photo of the two of you
- A locket
- A good luck charm
- A blanket or stuffed animal
- A recording of you reading them their favorite story
- A craft you made together
- A stone you found together
A tried-and-true tactic by military parents, mementos help children feel close to a parent who isn’t around when they’re feeling sad, anxious or even proud.
A smooth separation
If you are still in the divorce process, using the help of a skilled attorney can help make for a smooth separation while you plan ahead of bumps in its aftermath.