Adjusting to two homes is difficult for everyone, and making it work takes time, patience and understanding.
Following a family breakdown and when parents have shared care arrangements, it may mean that members of the whānau need to adjust to moving back and forth between two households. There are number of things that you as a parent can do, to help them adjust to this new reality.
Everyone copes better when there is a routine, consistency, and predictability in their environment. Having established expectations, makes this easier.
It is helpful for everyone to have some of their own space, somewhere to put their things and store their belongings in both homes. If they don't have their own room, think of a way that they can have something that is just theirs, for example a cupboard for their things.
Making sure the basics are at both houses is important, so that they don't have to be shifted back and forth. Having a selection of clothes, toiletries, toys and books at both homes is a good idea. It can be helpful if your child has a few special things that stay with them, such as special toy when they move between the households.
Children and young people, especially young children, are bound to have some questions and anxiety about having two homes. Be prepared to listen to their concerns as you may be able to offer a simple solution.
Having a routine is certainly key but as children get older their extra-curricular activities may begin to increase. Be prepared to reconsider routines to make sure that it works for everyone.
Other tips to ease the transition
- establish a home coming ritual
- give them space to unwind
- keep the lines of communication open.
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