Your life has been turned upside down since your separation, but you’ve hardly had time to notice because you’ve been preoccupied trying to make your kids feel at ease amidst all of the radical changes. They are splitting time between you and your ex, and you are doing your best to keep things as normal as possible. To help ease the transition during this trying time, here are a few simple ways you can make your new place feel like home for your children.
Let Your Child Make Decor Decisions
It may seem like a small and insignificant thing, but even something as simple as helping you make decor decisions for their new room can help your children transition into your new home. Knowing that their input is valued and seeing it put into action can help them feel a little more in control with the influx of change going on around them. Keep your request for input age-appropriate, limiting the options to two or three choices for younger children so as to not overwhelm them.
Incorporate Both Old & New Things
Resist the urge to purge everything and decorate your child’s room from a clean slate. Remember, this separation wasn’t their decision, it was yours. Your son or daughter was perfectly happy with their old room the way that it was at your old house. While you shouldn’t try to replicate it, you should honor it by incorporating a mix of old pieces into their new room.
Take stock of everything you’ll be bringing from your child’s old room to the new house. Which pieces of furniture are particularly sentimental or valuable? Which ones have been long overdue for a replacement? For instance, your tween son may have nearly outgrown that old twin bed and is ready to upgrade to a full-sized bed. Splurge on a new mattress and a stylish platform bed frame that will coordinate with his old dresser and nightstand.
Think Outside the Home
No matter how much time and money you put into your child’s new room, don’t expect it to be a cure-all that’s going to help your child adjust 100 percent. It’s going to take more than a room makeover to make your new place feel like home for your child. Mostly, you are just going to have to give your child some time to adjust, so be mindful not to rush their pace. For many kids, getting comfortable in a new home means letting go of hope that you and your spouse will rekindle your relationship, which can be really hard for kids of all ages, especially if they were blindsided by your split.
Beyond just giving your child time to adjust, you can lead by example by getting to know all of the ins and outs of your new neighborhood. Take a daily walk around the block, even on the days when your child isn’t with you. This allows you a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and help your child find some new playmates. Exchange phone numbers with your new neighbors and set up playdates. It may feel a bit forward, but push past that discomfort to help your child feel more comfortable with your new reality.
Make it a point to find great new local businesses in your neighborhood as well. This can be really fun for your child, especially if you try out multiple ice cream shops or pizza joints and rank them to find your new local favorites.
Remember, this is a huge transition for everyone involved, so allow yourself and your children plenty of grace. It may take time for life to feel familiar in your new environment, but before long it will become your cherished home sweet home.