It’s so important that children maintain a routine as much as possible, even during a family separation. Kids need stability to feel safe and comforted.
How Your Kids Can Help You Navigate ‘The New Normal’
Get your child’s input
Try to let them choose things for the new home- bed sheets, wall art, even kitchen utensils. Kids like to feel included in big events in life, moving to or going back and forth to a new place is one of them.
Some kids may try to bend the rules a bit in the midst of a divorce. They know they their parents are distracted by a lot of events and thoughts. They need to know that no matter which home they are in, all former rules apply.
Create a calendar for both homes
This calendar can include which days the child is with each parent and can be a great visual reminder. It can also include school, sport and other events so that nothing is forgotten and everyone is informed.
Packing isn’t always a breeze but it can be made easier. Both parents should keep necessities- pajamas, toothbrushes, etc. Make a plan for what happens when your child forgets something.
Make both homes familiar
This may mean having two of a few things but it may be worth it, at least in the beginning. Are their things that can be split between two homes?
This information can be found in Parents Magazine
Dating after Divorce
Dating is hard in today’s world, but after divorce, it can be even harder to want to try to find love again. You may want to take a break to work on certain areas of your life. You may be ready to start dating as soon as your divorce is final- everyone is different.
6 Rules for Dating after Divorce
- Wait until you feel the relationship is serious before introducing your child to the person.
- Remind your child that no matter who you date, you will always be there for and care for them. They need the reassurance that they come first.
- Listen to your child’s feelings about the person but don’t let them run your dating life.
- Don’t date because you’re lonely.
- Jumping in a relationship too soon teaches your child how to avoid pain and wind up in unhealthy relationships.
- Sleepovers? That is up to every couple and situation. It may be better and less confusing if those occur when the child is with the other parent.
These tips are meant to help and encourage through a very rocky part of life. With a lot of support and understanding, kids can adjust well to life after divorce.
On the journey to your new normal
If you find yourself saying things like “when we were a family” it may be time to make some new memories. Creating a new normal may seem hard at first, however, it can be done.
This isn’t to say old traditions aren’t important. You should encourage your kids to remember the good things when you were together, by the same token, teaching them to move forward helps them to deal with change.
Your new “normal” can be anything you want. More importantly, the fun doesn’t have to stop. And what’s even more satisfying, you can invite your ex IF you two are in a good place.
Word to the wise, if you or your children haven’t made peace, you may want to hold off on invites to your family’s new traditions.
For the love of food. Food, depending on how it’s consumed, can help heal. If you don’t believe me, get a copy of the movie Soul Food, a film about how a working-class family uses Sunday dinner to come together during the ups and downs of life.
Family meals still should be a priority after the divorce. The meal doesn’t have to be fancy either. Use your divorce to teach children this important life skill.
There are cooking kits for children you can order. If your divorce left you strapped for cash, there are cooking videos for children on YouTube for kids with special needs. Get your ingredients and get cooking!
Caring for others is a great way to teach your children compassion. Take your children to an animal shelter to volunteer once a month. Dogs and cats make great companions especially for children with special needs.
There are hundreds of opportunity to get involved in your community. Google volunteer opportunities in your hometown or download handy apps like meetup.com to find family projects in your area. Charities like Homes for Habitat welcome all kinds of helpers and can find something for your special needs child to do.
New Anniversary for your New Normal
The first holiday without your spouse is hard for everyone. It’s especially hard if there are custody issues that haven’t been worked out. Your special needs children are extra sensitive this time; you may feel the need to walk on eggshells.
Old traditions may have included trips to the in-law’s house. If the two of you are not in a good space right now, what do you do?
In special circumstances like these, put your differences aside, and put your kids first. Generally speaking, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Taking a chapter from a television favorite “This Is Us” create new traditions. Remember the first Thanksgiving episode?
This Is Us
Rebecca got into a heated argument with her mother. Jack’s tire blew out on a dusty road. Instead of begging her judgemental mom to pick them up, they spent Thanksgiving in a cabin with Pilgrim Rick, eating Cheese Wiz, hot dogs, and saltines.
In other words, they made lemonade out of the lemons! Provided if there is enough time, ask your former in-laws if everyone would meet on neutral ground. Restaurants like Shoney’s, IHOP and dozens of others open on major holidays.
Your kids still get to see their grandparents and you get to go home to a clean house! Win-Win!
Should there be a clause in your divorce decree where the two of you split the holidays; use your alone time to start a tradition for yourself. Visit a friend you haven’t see in years, go see your family by yourself, or have your first bachelor/bachelorette get together.
Mulling over what used to be doesn’t do you or your children any favors. Instead of living in the past, use this time to plan your future. Help your special needs children become self-sufficient.
The only way to accomplish this is to show them how strong and compassionate you are. There will be rough days. There will be days they will miss the other parent, but show them their family is still whole.
Encourage them to find peace in broken pieces.
What about you? Did you create new traditions after your divorce? We’d love to hear about them, please share your comments below.
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