Divorce, in itself, is a very selfish act on the part of the parents. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary despite the damage it causes to all the members of the family. There are circumstances where a divorce just could not be avoided. The kids usually suffer the most. Now that mom or dad lives somewhere else there will be many new adjustments in their life. Both parents usually want what is best for the children. Making the transition as smooth as possible is the goal. One of the major changes that the kids have to adjust to is that one parent will have a new home, and they will be living there part time. So how can you make this new home a place where the kids feel comfortable, secure, and happy?
It is imperative that you take time to focus on your kids right now. The divorce was also hard on you emotionally, and you may be nursing yourself back to emotional health. But you need to re-focus on your kids when they are with you. They are too young and immature to understand your pain, and can only feel their pain. They need help adjusting and dealing with the new situation. You are the best support for them right now. Start by making them feel at home in your new place. Refer to it as “our new place” when you speak with them about it. In order to keep them from feeling like guests in your new home, make sure they have a space, or preferably,a room of their own. Allow them to bring anything they want from their other home to your new home. That includes bedding, stuffed animals, and toys. Help them arrange their new room as they would like it to look. Then take them on a shopping trip to pick up some new items, to put in the new room. This can add a little fun and excitement to the situation.
Try not to forget the little things. The kids are sure to notice whether or not you have a toothbrush, hairbrush, special soap, or favorite towel in the new home for them. You would be shocked to learn how much they actually notice. They are unconsciously looking for things to prove that this is not their home, and you have to prove otherwise. It’s like being considered guilty until you can prove otherwise.
If you’ve never paid attention to the small details at your other home, you will certainly need to do that now. Ask your kids what foods they like, what they drink, and what kinds of snacks they usually eat. These items will need to be available in your home, when they are with you. Most people make an extra trip to the grocery store the day before their kids come to stay with them. Buy only the amount you will need for the length of their stay, so you don’t end up throwing away a lot of spoiled food.
Now for decor purposes. They will notice if you have pictures of them in the new home. See if you can get some of their pictures from your ex-spouse. If you are not on good terms, and can’t do this, then it is time to take new pictures. Make a day out of it, go to the local park or beach, and snap some family shots of you and the kids. Then go shopping, let the kids help you pick out new picture frames. Go home and arrange them together. Put some in their room on the wall, where they would like them. Display some around the house. It sort of seals the deal with the new home.
Your kids need patience and time. Eventually they will adjust, and you can all begin enjoying your new home, and life together.