Moving into a new home after your divorce can be stressful. If you are feeling stressed as a new parent, imagine how your kids will be feeling when they begin to live in a place they are not familiar with. Every child may feel different about this new experience. Some will see it as a new adventure and a new place to explore and have fun. Others will not feel comfortable being taken from what they know and may have a harder time adjusting.
Even the kids that are excited about the move may soon begin to feel confused and frustrated at a new place when they realize the stay is more long-term than short-term. To assist with the acclimation of a new second home for both you and your children, here are some ideas that can help you and your children become comfortably with this new normal.
Include the children – If you are in the middle of looking for a new place to live and you are down to two or three choices, let the kids also look at the homes. They may discover something through their eyes that you did not notice. Also, let them be involved in picking out new furniture, beds and other items that will go into the new home. This will provide a much stronger sense of “their” home.
Include favorite personal items – The more you can make the new home have the familiarity of the old home the better. One thing you will not want to happen is for the children to constantly be hauling favorite items back and forth between the two homes. This may mean you need to purchase an additional video game machine, music players, toys or sports equipment.
You do not need to compete – You may have an instinct to find a wonderful place to live and decorate it to the hilt. If you are doing this to impress your children and make it more enticing for them to want to spend time with you, then you may be wasting money. Kids will want to be with their parents regardless of where they are staying, and they will want a place that is comfortable and familiar with them. Placing them in an environment they are not used to may do more harm than good.
Establish rules for both homes – Stating the same rules at each residence will give the children a good sense that each place is their home. For example, each home should require homework to be done by the same time, bedtime should be the same at both homes and there should be a rule of not asking one parent for permission to do something and then doing it at the other parent’s home.
The idea of finding a second home after being in a larger place with family can be daunting, especially when you need to create a second home for your children. While there may be a little time of adjustment, if you work to make your new home both comfortable and familiar, you and your children should be just fine.