How can I help my child get used to having two homes?

For some kids, having two homes can be difficult. Divorce is accompanied by many changes to a child’s life, and the switch from one home to two homes can sometimes represent many of those changes at once.

If you are the parent who has acquired the new home, there are ways you can help your child feel more comfortable in that space. There are also actions you can take to help your child adjust to the new routine of traveling between your home and the child’s other home.

Help your child feel comfortable in the new space

One of the best ways to help your child feel comfortable in your new space is to invite your child to help decorate the space. It can be exciting for your child to choose how his or her room looks, and that excitement might help your child appreciate the new home a little more.

However, too much change can feel overwhelming for children. Incorporating some familiar items throughout your house can also help it feel more like home for your child.

Help your child adjust to the new routine

For some children, adjusting to two homes means more than feeling comfortable in two houses. Sometimes the change in routine can be upsetting. To help minimize the difficulties associated with this change, it is important to carefully establish the new routine, so it involves as little disruption as possible to your child’s life.

Using the same packing list every time your child switches homes can help your child feel more at ease with the transition. He or she will know what items will remain consistent, and he or she will not have to worry about forgetting something. Be sure to include your child’s comfort object, like a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, if your child has one.

Consider establishing a pattern for drop offs. Often, it works best for the parent who is already with the child to be the one who transports the child to the other home.

Plan relaxing activities for your child’s arrival. The transition may always be a little emotional for kids, and they may need time to adjust after arriving at your home. Simple activities, like reading a book or playing a game together, can help keep arrivals as stress free as possible.

Although your child may not like going back and forth between two homes, it is important to abide by the parent-child contact schedule that was decided upon in your divorce. However, you can take several steps to help your child adjust to the changes associated with having two homes.