Breeding Olinzock Carter Crippen

Familiar things help your child adjust to two homes

After a divorce, there will be two households, and your child will spend time in both. While he will likely think of the residence of the principal parent as "home," you will want to ensure that a comfort level is firmly established in the new household. Familiar belongings along with some familiar routines will help your child adjust.

Age will have much to do with the way your child reacts to the divorce, and you may have to contend with everything from fear and insecurity to outright anger. Enabling a child to feel at ease in both homes will help in the healing process.

Planning personal space

You may not be able to duplicate the bedroom your child has in the old family home, but you can let him plan personal space in the new home. It can be an exciting project to choose a paint color for the walls and new sheets for the bed. If the child is small, make sure favorite toys or stuffed animals are close by -- carry one or two back and forth between homes -- and remember favorite photos and books. Even if the child does not have a private bedroom in the new house, make sure he has personal closet space, drawers or shelf space.

Creating consistency

The familiar things include consistency and routine. Sameness, doing familiar and ordinary things, will help ground your child. If the usual bedtime is nine o'clock, that should be the rule at both houses. If your son is used to getting his homework done right after dinner, continue that routine. If your daughter is accustomed to helping with certain chores at the principal home, she should follow suit in the new household. Children need consistency and structure; it makes them feel more secure.

Seeking advice

Just when you thought everything was going well and that your child was adapting nicely to the idea of two homes, a dicey problem may develop that you have no idea how to handle. Your child's welfare is a priority, and when you hit a rough patch, an attorney experienced with family law is standing by to help.

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