Daily structure and routine can help your children feel more secure.
Children often find school stressful. Add to that the anxiety and worries of a recent separation and it can be a very difficult time for children.
Giving your children a solid foundation of daily activities can help alleviate stress, anxiety and help with the psychological well-being of both parents and children alike.
Create a timetable for your children so they know the routine. It may include getting ready for school, doing homework, personal time, transportation to and from each parent’s home, special activities such as organized sports and taking time just to be together. Set aside time for fun activities like board games, sports and just hanging out together.
The bedtime routine might include taking a bath, brushing teeth and reading books. As long as it is consistent and predictable, it will give your child a sense of security.
Even though your teenage children may resist you imposing a routine on them, they will benefit from some structure and routine in their day. You just might not get thanked for imposing it on them.
For some children, it is helpful is to let your children know in advance where they will be and what they will be doing in the future.
I used to post on the fridge a calendar showing “mommy days” and “daddy days”. I also inserted special activities such as their sports and special family events, birthdays and other activities on the calendar.
I remember finding a copy of the schedule in my son’s pocket one day. He said it made him feel better just being able to know what was happening next.
Often during separation children demand a lot of attention from their parents. Give them the time they need. You likely have to share your time with the other parent so focus on your children when they are with you.
You can also normalize your child’s anxiety and fears. Let them know that it is okay to feel bad some days. It will get better one day.
If your children are really struggling, you may need to get the help of a Child Specialist who can offer your children individualized therapy and professional support.
Providing routine, consistency and letting your children know what is coming next will help to decrease their anxiety and fears. Of course, if you ask your children they might suggest some ice cream will help too. Not a bad idea.