When the family unit breaks up and the parents go their separate ways, a top priority is helping the children adjust to a new chapter in their lives.
Living in two homes is often a strange, new experience for children, but you can help them adapt and ensure that they maintain positive familial relationships.
Enlist the opinions of your children, letting them have a say in decorating their private spaces in their new home. Ask them to help pick out the sheets for their beds and the colors for their bedroom walls. A welcoming environment will be important to them, so keep some items in the new home that are familiar to your children: toys, books, perhaps some sports equipment.
Establish a routine
Children expect routine to help provide order for their lives. Plan dinner at about the same time in both homes, and set the same time in each home for doing homework and enjoying family games or playing outside. Set up dual calendars so your children know what days they will be with dad this month and what days with mom.
Set the right tone
Be respectful when speaking about or interacting with the other parent, especially in the presence of your children. Your spouse may make you angry, but refrain from saying derogatory things about him or her to the children. Set an example by being even-tempered and thinking before you speak.
Find common ground
Because children get along better when they have good relationships with both parents, the statutes in Alaska lean heavily toward joint legal and shared physical custody. Find common ground for life in both homes. For example, establish the same rules in both locations—you can even write them on whiteboards. Permission given by one parent should not be reversed by the other. Praise given by one parent should be seconded by the other. Co-parenting is a learning experience, but you can work with each other to ensure that your children have the best of both their parents’ new lives.