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Helping Your Child Cope with Your Divorce and or Separation

Updated: Apr 15

Why Do Routines Matter For Children?

A separation or divorce is a highly stressful and emotional experience for everyone involved, but children often feel that their whole world has turned upside down and can be especially sad, stressful, and confusing time.

The latest official figures show that in England and Wales, during the last 12 months alone, almost 90,000 children were involved in private law applications, which are legal processes to determine matters such as whom the child lives with. This is the highest figure ever recorded and it represents an increase of over 6 per cent on the previous year.  With nearly a quarter of a million people getting divorced in the UK each year, the need for information and support for those affected is clear.

At any age, it can be traumatic to witness the dissolution of your parents’ marriage and the breakup of the family. Separation is never a seamless process and, inevitably, such a transitional time doesn’t happen without some measure of grief and hardship. Separated parents become 'co-parents' and the difference in roles and parenting styles is often amplified and this can be a reason why arguments occur when you are trying to organise a routine for your children. Learning to be a co-parent is a new journey for itself. It is not always easy and, like learning anything new, you won’t always get it right the first time. It is important to remember that everyone is adjusting to a new way of living.

Transitions can be distressing for children, particularly if it means that their family will go from all living under one roof to being spread across two. Kids may feel shocked, uncertain, or angry, some may even feel guilty, blaming themselves for the problems at home, but you can dramatically reduce your children’s pain by making their well-being your top priority and putting them first, above your own personal needs in this crucial times.

Children thrive when they know what to expect out of their day. For young children, a routine helps them to grasp time, even if they can't read clocks yet. For example, a child will begin to remember and they will thrive when they know what to expect out of their day and the order in which different events play out throughout their day:

  • After breakfast, they go to school or daycare;

  • Once you pick them up from school or daycare, they come home, have dinner, then after play time comes bed time.

This will give them a sense of control and consistency over their day. 

Routines also give children a sense of security which is vital to their sense of safety. Even if they don't see both of their parents every day, understanding their routine and when they'll be with each of their parents will provide that security gives them peace of mind. Along with security comes a sense of trust.

When a child is able to trust their routine and the people involved in it, they feel even more secure and safe to concentrate on learning, playing, and growing. Your patience, reassurance, and listening ear can minimise tension as your children learn to cope with unfamiliar circumstances. By providing routines your kids can rely on, you remind them that they can count on you for stability, structure, and care. The secret of parenting is not in what a parent does but rather who the parent is to a child. When a child seeks contact and closeness with us, we become empowered as a nurturer, a comforter, a guide, a model, a teacher, or a coach.

For a child well attached to us, we are their home base from which to venture into the world, their retreat to fall back to, their fountainhead of inspiration. All the parenting skills in the world cannot compensate for a lack of attachment relationship. All the love in the world cannot get through without psychological umbilical cord created by the child's .

  • Only few days ago, TTI also stumbled on a front cover article in The Times from Thursday February 15, 2024 where daily newspaper of the year talked about Routine for young minds.

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