Children thrive on stability. Life is constantly changing, and even children must be able to adjust. However, providing stability helps children feel secure.
If a child’s parents were never married, then transitioning between each parent’s household is already a part of their routine. However, how can co-parents support and maintain stability to help their child grow?
1. Be on the lookout for behavioral changes
Young children rarely know how to express that they are suffering from a lack of stability or security in their lives. Instead, they will often express this through their behavior. Lack of stability could often lead children to:
- Exhibit symptoms of anxiety;
- Act out in anger toward both parents;
- Struggle in school; or
- Rebel against their parents.
That is only to name a few of the ways children might react if they do not have stability in their life as they transition between their parents’ homes – even if that is all they have ever known.
2. Maintain effective communication
As we have discussed in previous blog posts, clear communication is essential to a healthy co-parenting relationship. Communicating about the child’s life allows parents to:
- Strategize how they will both approach parenting;
- Stay on the same page when it comes to how they will raise their children; and
- Discuss any changes in the child’s life and schedule.
When parents keep each other in the loop, they can better work together as a team to provide their child with security – no matter whose household they are in.
3. Create a routine, and stick to it
Establishing a routine is especially important for younger children. Even though they might be going back and forth between each parent’s homes, they should still be able to rely on the parenting schedule and a similar routine. Generally, Illinois parents should follow the same routine when it comes to:
- The child’s bedtimes;
- Average mealtimes;
- Chores; and
- House rules.
Oftentimes, parents might have different parenting styles, but they must ensure they put their children’s needs first.