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Helping your child adjust to two homes

A divorce is very stressful to the adults, even in the best of circumstances. To the children involved, it can cause confusion and disruption to their routine. It is difficult to suddenly have two homes, mom's and dad's. Each home has its own rules and routines, and nothing seems familiar. When you are setting up a new home for yourself and your child during a divorce, you can help your child adjust more quickly by taking some time to remember the child's viewpoint and emotions. Here are some tips:

  • Give the child a say in the new environment. Take your child shopping for a new bed or paint for the room.
  • Come up with a packing plan for trips between the two places. Instead of always packing up items such as toothbrushes, pajamas and books, keep these items on hand. Help your child pack up for the transition the night before, which is a reminder that he or she will be seeing the other parent soon, and it helps you remember everything that needs to go with the child.
  • Talk to the other parent to see which of the belongings of the child can be shared for the new home. If that is not an option, buy the items that make your child feel special and comfortable. Sometimes, the familiarity of a night-light or a beloved cup is just the thing.
  • Work with the child's parent to find common ground on two or three rules. Children need some consistency; for example, homework must be done before playtime. Scientific American reports that most children of divorce are able to adjust well in the long term.
  • Keep dual calendars to help coordinate time. You might want to consider a visual calendar for your child to help him or her keep track of where he or she will be. It is a lot of work, but children want to know this information, too.
  • Have a routine when your child comes in. Read a book together before you unpack. Make a special dinner. Let your child process the transition.
  • Remember that your child is not counting the number of minutes with you, but rather the quality of the time spent together.

Collaborative parenting gives your children healthy tools

Determining child custody and visitation is probably one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce. Two parents who can work together to find solutions for the best interests of the child are going to be much happier than when a judge dictates visitation. Make sure your attorney knows your goals and works with you to ensure the best outcome for your situation.

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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-417-9524
Phone: 724-417-9524
Fax: 724-779-6299
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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.