If you recently divorced your spouse, you will still have to work together if you share children. Although there will be two separate households, you should both continue to strive for consistency in your children’s lives. Children thrive best when their routines are regular and predictable, so keep that in mind as you move forward and co-parent together.
Establishing Consistent Routines
Some parents try to earn their children’s approval by becoming the “fun” parent after a divorce, leaving the other parent to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring their children are on track with their homework and other obligations. It can create a lot of conflict and alienate the children from one parent. To avoid this, it is essential to establish consistent routines for both households. They do not necessarily have to be identical, but they should mirror each other enough to reduce arguments and help the children develop good habits.
Here are some tips that will help you create consistent routines:
- Establish similar morning routines: A morning routine can help keep children on track when getting ready for school in the morning and help them avoid being tardy. You might not both have time to cook breakfast for them every morning, but try to maintain some consistency and agree on getting them to school on time every day.
- Establish similar bedtime routines: When children have a consistent bedtime routine it helps them fall asleep quickly and can even improve their parents’ mood. Even if your children plead with you to stay up later, it is crucial to stick to the routine. Make sure you agree on a time you know will be easy for both of you to follow. A nightly bedtime routine can include brushing teeth, taking a bath, and putting on pajamas.
- Homework before television: The routines you establish for your children should emphasize positive and healthy habits. For example, your children should finish homework before watching television or playing video games. They should also eat a healthy meal instead of eating candy or other sweets for dinner.
- Agree on how to discipline them: Children break the rules sometimes and it is important for co-parents to agree on the consequences of disobedient behavior. The two of you will likely need to sit down and discuss these scenarios and agree on how to discipline them. Additionally, you should also discuss how to award good behavior.
- There can be room for flexibility: Some issues, such as your children’s academic performance, are more serious and should be treated as such. However, there might be a few things the two of you are willing to be flexible on. Discuss them to make sure you are not contradicting each other and confusing your children. After all, you are two different people and cannot be expected to run your households without a few minor discrepancies.
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