In this blog we are sharing our top 5 tips for helping your children as much as possible during your separation.  This will be a series of blogs as we will then be blogging on each point in more detail in the next weeks.  There can be lots of questions when you separate about how to manage things to minimise the effect of your separation on your children, how to tell them about the separation, and how to deal with a situation where the relationship deteriorates and your children have witnessed arguments that you wish they hadn’t. These are our top tips for ensuring that your children remain as happy as possible during the separation and beyond and you will get more detail about each point in the coming weeks so stay tuned to our blog:

  1. 1.  Communication is key.  Your children are much more likely to thrive where their parents are able to communicate with each other.  This means you are able make clear arrangements that everybody understands.  It also means that you are able to talk about any issues that crop up concerning your children and decide on a way forward together.  It also means that there is less scope for children playing their parents off against each other because you both know what’s going on and you talk regularly about what they say to you.  Good communication involves both talking and listening and this is important to remember.

  2. 2. You need a system that works for all of you.  Managing arrangements for children post separation is all about having a system and a routine in place that works for all of you.  A clear routine means everybody knows when the children are with mum and when they’re with dad.  You may need flexibility sometimes but working on the basis of a routine rather than ad hoc arrangements usually helps everyone to feel more secure and confident that they understand what’s happening.  It’s also important to ensure you have systems to ensure your children have whatever they need for school and whichever parent they’re staying with.

  3. 3. Whatever arrangements you make should be centred around your children.  We often get asked what arrangements need to be made for children, or what the norm is and there really is no such thing.  You are your children’s parents and you know them best.  You are best placed to make arrangements that will work for them and take into account their individual needs, interests, foibles, likes, dislikes and anything else you think is important.

  4. 4. Sometimes things get nasty even when you don’t want them to.  Angry and hurt people often react from a place of defensiveness and somethings it’s just not nice or pretty.  If you find yourself straying down this road then it’s important to try to change things as soon as possible and to address what’s happening.  It is usually being exposed to conflict that causes the most harm to children during a separation and so finding a way to keep them away from arguments and bad feeling is really important.

  5. 5. The arrangements you make work now but it’s important to review them regularly to check that they’re working for all of you.  Children’s needs and interests change as they get older, or encounter different issues, and that can mean that the routine they have with their parents needs to change too.  Other changes such as a change of work or a move can also mean you have to review your arrangements.  It’s helpful to be able to sit down and talk to each other about how things are working but what do you do if you feel you can’t do that?

We hope you find these tips useful.  Next week on the blog we’ll be talking about point 1 and all things communication related.  We’ll be going live on our Facebook page to talk about this in more detail on Friday 14th September so please come and join us.  If you’d like to get free resources on how best to manage your separation then sign up to our free mailing list.  If you’re a professional working with clients who separate then please join our free professionals mailing list.