After a divorce, the custodial parent may have more time with the children. Likewise, parents who have to move or join the military may have limited physical time with their children. Separating a parent from a child can cause emotional distress, fear and distrust in the child.
As a custodial parent, there are ways you can help alleviate your children’s feelings of anxiety and distress.
Start talks with your children ahead of time
Prepare your children in advance. Do not surprise them with the divorce and instead help them understand the changes about to take place. Be clear about how often they will see the other parent and why they cannot see the parent as often as they did before. Children three years and older need to have conversations about what to expect. Not only should you prepare them for what will happen, but also prepare them for how they might feel.
Maintain consistent routines
As the custodial parent, you need to be present for them. Take time to listen to how they feel and respond accordingly to their response to the divorce. Sometimes, it may require you to participate in uncomfortable conversations, but your children will fare better if you validate their emotions and answer their questions.
Do not change up the routine too much. Instead, maintain as much of the former routine as possible.
Try to encourage as much contact as possible with the other parent. Plan for phone and video calls while the other parent cannot physically be there.