With divorce comes change for everyone in the family. Now your daughter is going to spend time with you and the other parent individually, in two separate homes.
How well the adjustment period goes will partly depend on the age of your daughter. However, there are several things you can do to help a child of any age make this new post-divorce era easier to manage.
A familiar look and feel
Your daughter may have grown up in only one home. It is all she knows and it is familiar and comfortable. The new home will feel strange to her for some time. Making it welcoming will be very important. She will need her own space, her own bedroom, if possible, plus her own closet, drawers and a shelf area where she can put her ceramic turtle collection. Ask her help in choosing bed linens and perhaps fresh paint for the bedroom walls in a color of her choice. You can duplicate certain items that are favorites of hers in the other house: toys, books, a butterfly night light. Young children will likely keep a favorite doll or stuffed animal close by and take it back and forth from one house to another.
Children expect a daily routine; in fact, they thrive on basic “sameness.” Try to keep as much of the routine your daughter is used to as possible. For example, if she does homework at a certain hour, continue that practice. If, as a family, you normally sat down to dinner at 6 o’clock, continue that tradition in both houses.
Keep duplicate calendars at both homes. Use them as visual reminders of when your daughter will be at Dad’s house and when she will be at Mom’s. You can also note reminders about appointments, special events and extracurricular activities.
Best interests emphasis
The terms of the custody agreement that accompanied your divorce were intended to further the best interests of your child. Transition is not easy for children. Doing whatever you can to help your daughter adjust to life between two homes is an important part of that effort.