Divorce can leave everyone feeling unsettled. Helping your kids find their footing during and after the divorce is a priority.  One of the best predictors of a child’s healthy adjustment to divorce is a close relationship with both parents. One of the ways you can maintain (or develop) that closeness is to have one on one time with your kids.  Consider these tips:

  • It can be an intentional part of your parenting plan. If you and your co-parent are able to communicate and maintain flexibility in your parenting schedule, you can build in this time for each of you. One idea is to rotate a weekday evening where each of you has only one child, so that over the course of a few weeks or a month, each of you has had some dedicated time with each child.  If this is difficult logistically or because of a strained co-parent relationship, then: 
  • It can also occur more organically. There are many natural times during the week when your children are otherwise engaged – sports practice, play dates or different school schedules. Use this opportunity to have some alone time with your other child. You might have to get creative if you have 3 or more kids; so consider tapping into your social support network to help make this time a priority.
  • It’s about focused time, not an expensive activity. I want to emphasize that this is about your relationship, not about expensive outings or over-the-top experiences. It is far more valuable to put away all technology and play a board game or take a bike ride than to be distracted by your phone during mother-daughter mani/pedis or a father-daughter expensive dinner.  Bake together, toss around a baseball, look through a photo album – it doesn’t matter as long as it appeals to both of you and promotes connection.

Your relationship with your children is what grounds them when the world feels crazy and their emotions feel overwhelming. Protecting and promoting that connection for both you and your co-parent will help them not just survive, but thrive, following the disruptions of divorce.