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Helping your child adjust to living in two homes

If, like many divorced or divorcing Georgia parents, you're sharing custody of your children, you know that it can be difficult for kids to get used to moving between homes to see their parents. It's essential that they have a room of their own (or maybe that they share with their sibling) at each home — not just where they live with one parent.

However, parents can help their kids adjust to their new norm. You can even make it fun and exciting for your kids. For example, nearly all kids enjoy the chance to decorate their own space. Both parents — not just the one who has moved out — can help them make it an adventure. Perhaps you can take them to stores in their new neighborhood to pick out posters, sheets and stuffed toys.

Keep the new place as furnished as possible. The fewer belongings that kids have to pack up when they move between parents' homes, the better. At least have some toiletries, clothing and other necessities at both homes so that your child doesn't have to spend too much time unpacking, packing and settling in. This also helps give the room in the "new" home a feeling of familiarity.

Besides the aesthetics, there should be some commonality in rules between the two homes. Likely, you and your ex don't parent the same way. It may also be tempting for the parent who has less time with the kids to be more lenient. However, all kids need some predictability — particularly in the midst of divorce. There are certain rules and responsibilities that kids should expect no matter at which home they are.

Don't expect to get separate parenting exactly right at first. You and your co-parent will learn as you go along. You may need to make some modifications to your original parenting plan. Your Georgia family law attorney can help you with that.

Source: Parents, "Making a Child Comfortable in Two Homes," Jeannette Moninger, accessed May 25, 2018

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