When parents get divorced and one moves out, it’s not only strange for your children; it’s hard for them to go sleep in a new place that is but isn’t home.
You may want to get rid of the pictures of your ex but having them around could help your kids. If you’re decorating a new house, you can choose what you want, but how will the new surroundings affect your child? Being conscious of how changes may impact your children can help you make the transition for them much smoother. Here are a few things you may want to try.
Matching robes or pajamas for your new house
This may sound weird, but the first night your kids are at their new house because everything is new, try building a new memory and bond by having matching pajamas (affiliate link) or robes for them to wear. Having the sense of bonding and something new or fun like footed styles (affiliate link) can help ease the tension and also help them to feel more comfortable.
Your kids probably won’t be expecting the surprise and it’s a way to help them to start seeing the new house as one of their homes. They could also bring a couple of things over from their other home but this is very individual – some kids find it reassuring, some kids find it a hassle. And if it upsets your ex you’ll need to reassure them that the items will be returning when the children return.
You might consider doing this when your children are going to visit their other parent. This might be particularly helpful if your child is apprehensive about spending time with their other parent. You can let them know that the special pajamas mean you’re still thinking about them. Again, you’ll have to consider how your ex may react to this – your ex may consider it as you thinking they’re not capable of taking care of the kids and this would be an opportunity for you to reassure them that you do support their parenting skills and this is about supporting your children.
Do not change the old bedroom
If you’re staying in the family home then you may have this irresistible urge to redo everything now that your partner is gone. Unfortunately your kids could see this as a negative. With all of the changes in your life and their lives, consistency could be something that helps them feel OK.
When my parents split up and I came home from boarding school, they surprised me by having my entire bedroom redone. The house I grew up in no longer felt like home and the room I grew up in was no longer my room.
If you want to redecorate. let your children help, at least with their room and make sure they are OK with it emotionally. Remember, you may have had a lot longer to adjust to the end of your marriage than your kids. They may come round to the idea of redecorating if you give them more time.
Keep the family photos
One of the things that helped me adjust to my new house wasn’t the clothing I left there or the stuffed animals that I brought over. It was the family photos.
I didn’t feel the heartbreak because I still got to see both parents. I wasn’t splitting up with them so seeing my family together didn’t hurt like it does when you break up with the person you loved. Instead it is a weird feeling that your family isn’t together.
By having family photos in my bedroom I was able to remember and feel at home, but I also made sure that I looked at them less and less each week and added new photos with my mom or dad and family at the new houses while replacing the ones from when everyone was together. By slowly changing the photos I was able to move into a feeling that the new house was my home and that the new bedroom was now starting to feel like mine.
You have to remember that even if you don’t want something in your home because it hurts, removing it or banning it may make it worse for your kids. You don’t have to look at family photos with your ex, but if it helps your children, you could let them have them in their room. Then, if it’s too painful for you, when your kids go to their other home you can put the photos away and if you forget to bring them out before the next visit, you can explain that the photos make you feel sad. It could turn into an opportunity for you to talk about how they’re feeling about the divorce.
Adjusting to two homes can be tricky for kids, but these simple actions may help. If you have any other suggestions, we’d love to hear them by having you leave a comment below.
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Adam is a blogger who loves sharing everything from Broadway songs to recipes and aprons . After his parents got divorced he found unique ways to deal with it and also enjoys sharing these to help others.