Helping Your Children Feel at Home while Sharing Custody
It can be hard on your kids to switch houses regularly due to a shared custody arrangement. However, there are ways that you as their parent can make your kids feel comfortable and at ease in your home, however long they spend there. Read on for ways to help your kids feel at home.
Find a space that’s just theirs: If you’ve recently split up with your spouse, you may have ended up in a living arrangement that doesn’t provide quite as much space as you’re used to. Your kids might not have all their regular furniture in your home, and perhaps your kids have to share a bedroom when they’re used to having their own space. Even if it’s only a small area, make sure your kids have a space that’s just for them, where they can keep their toys or hang up art that’s meaningful to them. Your kids will feel comforted knowing they have a space to go to play or do their homework, where they know they can store their stuff and have some privacy.
Keep essential items on hand: packing and unpacking once or twice a week and living out of a suitcase can be draining for a kid. Rather than asking your child to bring everything important back and forth between houses, make sure that they have certain important items in each house, so that their packing list shrinks. Provide them with a dresser to store essential clothes, and keep a set of toiletries, toys, movies and books on hand for them.
Make sure the kitchen is stocked with their favorite items: Kids want to know that they’ll have snacks available to them wherever they are, and that you’ve thought ahead to have the food they love available. Keep the pantry stocked with your child’s favorite foods, rather than having to order out or force your child to eat what you eat whenever they’re there.
Develop a routine: Having a schedule for how things work when they’re staying at your house will help kids feel more stable and secure. It’s less important that the routine is the same at your house as it is at their other parent’s house; predictability, wherever they’re staying, is what’s most important for your child.
If you’re facing an Illinois family law issue in the Chicagoland area, such as a divorce or dispute over child custody, contact the compassionate and effective Carol Stream family law attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt for a consultation, at 630-665-9600.