Help Children through Divorce and Separation by Creating Togetherness
On May 15 it is ‘International Day of Families’ brought about by the United Nations Programme highlighting the importance of having healthy and happy relationships with our relatives. Families are the basic core of our society and we all aspire to achieve strong family bonds, but as much as this is a lovely thought during these changing times the pressure of modern life can take its toll on the family unit … I know, I speak from experience.
When a marriage or partnerships break down it can be a stressful time for families. As soon as the decision is made that a marriage is over, you are suddenly thrown into turmoil and from that point on life is going to change forever! And not just your life – your children’s, close family and even your friends.
Taking this step, knowing it will affect so many can be tough. I remember one of the biggest concerns was the impact mine and my husbands decision would have on our children. What they knew as a loving family home was about to be broken up, their daily routine was going to change, instead of one home there was now going to be two. What lasting damage was this going to have on our children?
Amidst all this turmoil though, I knew there was something both my ex-husband and I must do : Individually, we must give love and time to our children – create togetherness!
Finding the time to interact with our children had never been so important. They didn’t need material things or expensive gifts. They just needed to know that individual both myself and their father were there for them.
Here are some of the simple things I did, and still continue to do, with my children to create ‘togetherness’. I also shared these activities with my ex-partner and encouraged him to do similar …
- Eat together sitting at a table: This simple family tradition is a great opportunity to talk to one another, ask questions and discuss the days events. And on top of that children can learn great eating habits. You may like to make a ‘no gadgets’ rule too!
- Help in the kitchen: Children love to help! From stirring food, following a simple recipe, to setting the table and clearing up afterwards the kitchen is a great place to interact
- Plan a special family meal: Allow the children to choose what everyone will eat at a meal time (you may like to limit it to just dessert or give only a choice of only three meals). Maybe the children could design a menu or create name places for the table.
- Read a book together: Find a nice quiet time to do this, young children love this special time. Use plenty of expression, ask questions and talk about the story afterwards. If you have slightly older children, why not read the same book so you can discuss it.
- Play a game together: Cards, jigsaw puzzles, ball games and hide-go-seek are perfect, simple games any age can play together.
- Picnic in the park: Again children will love to help prepare for this, don’t forget to take a ball.
- Stay at home movie night: Allow the children to choose a movie, sharing a bucket of popcorn helps to make experience feel real, maybe the children could make some tickets and posters too!
- Exercise together: Go for a bike ride, walk in the woods, find a nature trail and walking a dog are all great ways to get active. Don’t have a dog? – then why not ask a neighbor.
- Do yard work together: Children love to grow flowers. Creating a vegetable patch is cool too, especially as children can eat what they grow.
It has been 10 years since I divorced and whilst we are no longer a ‘traditional’ family unit, thanks to our lovely children my ex-husband and I have managed to set aside any differences and pull together to support our children.
Below I have listed a couple of products to support you and your children to move positively through divorce/separation, both these products particularly emphasise parent and child togetherness.
Wishing you and your family well.
Founder of The Victoria Chart Company
The Victoria Chart Company’s My Time Chart (4yrs+). A large, visual wall chart brings structure, routine and peace of mind to children and helps them to accept the changes that are taking place in their lives and stay connected to family members. Enter ‘VCHART15’ to get 15% off at checkout.
Kids&Divorce App Designed for the child (4-11 yrs) and parent to use together, K&D’S Creative story making language has great potential for a child, to grow their emotional intelligence, wellbeing and social health in a safe environment.