Small gestures make a big difference to children with helping them adjust to divorce.
The overwhelming response from kids of divorce was routines make life more enjoyable. Their world is drastically changing and now they are dealing with loss. Divorce itself changes people’s schedules and turns lives upside down. A weekly routine puts constancy and lightness back into their environment.
Several boys mentioned getting an ice cream regularly with their parent brought predictability and gave them something to anticipate. This is easy enough to do with a youngster, perhaps every Friday after school nip into a shop on the way home for this luscious treat.
A little girl goes to a bakery and sips hot chocolate piled high with whipped cream, while she chats to mum about her week. Yes, she could say this at home, but this time is free from distraction and she gets undivided attention.
One boy said about once a month his mum took him to the cinema at the mall and they each got a slice of pizza.
What actions may seem trivial to you can mean a great deal to the child.
It is time spent with children rather than buying them trinkets and gadgets that is most important, as was explained by one boy. Memories of playing board games and picnics in the park got him through his parents’ acrimonious divorce, not more junk.
It can be tempting to try to make up for sadness that comes with divorce, by giving kids a bounty of material goods. What youngsters crave is your attention.
My son works in a restaurant and witnesses on a daily basis parents glued to their smartphones and totally ignoring the kids. Of course then kids act up for attention and get yelled at. Do not spoil these lovely routines with the little ones, by paying more attention to whomever you are texting then you do to them.
Once a month, my mother took me out to breakfast at a beautiful downtown hotel near my school. We feasted on freshly squeezed orange juice and other delectables while gazing out into their lovely garden. I cherished this kind act of my divorced mother.
Seems like most of the rituals that divorce families enjoy revolve around food. Some have weekly spaghetti nights or pizza in with a movie. Small, but much appreciated gestures to kids, are routinely watching boxed sets, such as “Breaking Bad.” It does not take up much time out of a busy schedule to do these little things with the children.
Some people do a yearly ritual, such as a long weekend at the seaside.
There are some great deals in the UK as well as on the continent. Others pick a particular time each year and go back home to visit family and friends. The kids enjoy this annual holiday and keeping in touch with others.
I used to take my sons to an amusement park yearly and knowing we would have this fun, made it easier to get through some visitation issues. My sons enjoyed going to a coffee shop on bank holidays when there was no school.
Ask your kids what they would enjoy on a regular basis. Divorce and the aftermath can be difficult and building scheduled fun into your lives is a big stress buster. Think of these treats and time spent together as a necessary way to improve family ties, well-being and health.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.