A good place to start thinking about what is best for your children is to think about what you hope and want for them. This helps us to focus on what is important and to have a plan of how to move forward.
– I want to provide my children with a sense of stability and security, especially at home.
– I want to prepare them to live and thrive in a fast paced world
– I want to provide my children with a positive role model with the ability for resolving conflict and dealing with tough times.
Be aware of your children’s emotions
Regardless of age, children will be affected emotionally by the separation and will need understanding and support. They need to know that the separation is not their fault and their job is not to reunite their parents.
Generally, most children adjust to the separation well once things have settled down. Children need to feel free to be loved and nurtured within both family homes. Seek professional help for your children if you believe they are not coping well with the separation.
Be the best parent you can be
The more involved you are in your children’s lives, the more they will benefit. The challenge for you is how to do this more effectively.
Here are some ideas of how to stay connected with your children:
– Share activities like bike rides, skating, jigsaws, board games, cooking etc.
– Ask them what they would like to do with you and implement this
– Keep in contact with their school
– Create your own rituals for birthdays, Christmas and holidays
– Have a special bedtime ritual; read a story, a little chat, sing a song/ lullaby
Remember that children need a secure emotional base
When your children are living with you they need to feel safe and secure in your home. Setting up daily routines can help this process so your children know what to expect each day. Set realistic rules and boundaries in your home so that your children know what behaviours are accepted by you.
A secure emotional base also includes:
– Encouragement to learn new things
– Help to solve their problems
– Protection from trauma
– A trusted parent when they need to be dependent