After their parents get divorced or separated, children react in many ways. They often regress in some of the areas of their lives after such a traumatic event. Some will change their eating or toilet habits or even sleeping routine which can be very stressful for them and their parents. That is why helping kids sleep in different homes after separation or divorce should be dealt with properly. Here are some tips to help you do it.
Leave their room as is
Suddenly having two homes instead of one is stressful enough for them, so you should at least try not to introduce other changes in their lives. If you are the parent who stays in your old family home, don't make any alterations around the house, especially not in your child's room. Children take solace in their toys and objects in their room just as much as they do in their parents, siblings, and other relatives. They are probably not so excited about adopting to your ex-spouse's new home, don't make them feel the same at your home.
If you are the parent who has to find a new home and set up a bedroom for your child, find out how they feel about the idea before doing it. Let them choose some new toys and items for their living space when they are staying with you. Hopefully, you will have your goods moved to another address in the same city so that you can be able to spend more time with your child after divorce or separation. Don't forget to bring some family photos that will help your child feel more comfortable in this new environment.
Try to stick to the previously set sleeping routine
Children thrive on predictability - that is one thing you should always have in mind no matter what you are trying to achieve with your child. Not being on the same page with your ex-spouse about your child's sleeping routine can cause many problems. Again, the best thing the two of you can do is to maintain the pre-divorce routine you practiced with your kid. However, that is not always possible. Sometimes, the kids will react even if you try to do all the same things. In cases like these, the parents should at least try to stick to some basic rules like:
Routines can be slightly different
You and your ex-spouse are two different persons and you are obviously not living in the same home anymore. That is why you cannot expect the sleeping routing to be exactly the same at his/her place and yours. Don't forget that your child will need some time to get used to their new bed and everything else in a room. However, you should both try to keep bedtime as similar as possible. That will make your mornings with kids easier too!
Stick to a schedule
As we have already mentioned, children feel most comfortable when they can predict what's coming. That is why it is important to come up with a co-parenting schedule as soon as possible after the divorce or separation. Don't hide your plans from your kids and tell them when they're going to their other parent and what days they are spending with you. They respond well to this type of routine and the alterations can lead to frustration. The emotional distress they are experiencing can affect their sleeping habits too. Kids might be too sleepy or unable to fall asleep for a long time at night.
Let your child have a bag of favorites
Children usually have their favorite blanket, pillow, soft toy, or some other object they are attached to. If that's something they are used to falling asleep with, you should encourage them to maintain the same habit even when they go to spend time with their other parent. Let them choose what they would like to pack for their stay at dad's/mom's. Having a piece of an old home with them when they are in a new one will certainly help them adapt quicker.
Ask for help when you need it
Even breakups are tough, let alone divorces and separations. When kids are included, things become even more complicated. You might feel overwhelmed and in need of some professional advice. Don't let anything stop you there. Your children are the most important persons in your life, so you have to do all that it takes to help them (and yourself) cope with the new situation. Finances are often an issue after the divorce, but you can save money on your move by calculating your expenses in advance, and prepare your budget for professionals who can help you and your children deal with stress.
Is it ok to share a bed with your kids to help them sleep in different homes after separation or divorce?
Many parents fall into this trap, especially when trying to sleep-train their kids. Letting your kid sleep in your bed is not a lasting solution. Plus, it is definitely not the way for you to get more rest as a new parent. It is ok to comfort them when they are sick or traumatized, but this should be the exception, not the rule. If your kid gets used to sharing a bed with you, they might find it even more difficult to fall asleep at their other parent's place. That will make things only worse.
Give them time...
Kids are usually more resilient than we think. With our love and support, they can adapt to anything. Helping your kids sleep in different homes after separation or divorce is important, and if you remain consistent you will succeed!