Re-Connecting With Your Kids After Divorce
There was a time before your divorce that you had all the time in the world to interact with your kids. Now depending on your situation and visitation court order your time with your children may be more limited and can affect your continued relationships with them. If you only see them every other weekend or even every weekend, there is so much of their lives that you are missing on a daily basis. With this in mind it is imperative that the time you have with them is spent wisely.
In the past, weekend parents were called ‘Disneyland Dads’ who always went to do something big on those weekends because they had such a small amount of time with their kids and felt like they had to make it a ‘wow’ time. This can get very expensive and the plain truth is, the kids just want to spend time with you. The sad thing is that because your daily interactions are so limited now, it is easy to grow apart, even from your own children. You will have less and less experiences together and will eventually have less and less in common. To minimize this, you will want to plan things with your children that will encourage interaction and communication. Don’t fall into the rut of sitting in front of the TV or endless hours of video games. Try to find things to do that will bring you together and share in a process or accomplishment. Below are some ideas of bonding and low cost activities to plan for your time with your children.
Putting together a meal can be a fun interactive time. Let them plan the menu and assign tasks such as chopping or mixing to their appropriate age levels and capabilities. Not only does this bring everyone together but it’s a great time to talk or play some music and accomplish something together. An added side effect is that they will also learn how to cook!
If you have the space available, plant a garden. Plan it out ahead of time with your kids and let them select what they would like to grow. Let them be a part of the process from the very beginning of planting seed to the end harvest. Each week they will be able to see the progress of their garden and it will be a process that you both are sharing together. You could even use the ‘fruits of your labor’ to participate in the cooking suggestion above.
Creating new family tradition:
Holidays are the worst for divorced families. All the traditions that your children grew up with will now have a sense of awkwardness with both parents not being together as before. This is a great time to make new traditions for you and your kids and your limited time together. Make plans to pick out a live tree and chop it down. Let them pick out and buy a special ornament each year that will have a special meaning to your time together. Make cookies and invite the neighbors for hot chocolate and cookies. Have the kids design and draw the invitations or deliver cookies and well wishes to your neighbors together. Do a family portrait each year or every other year so that they will have these keepsakes of their holidays with you. All of these will help to start making new memories of their times with you. Whatever your faith or holiday beliefs and traditions, keep them going. Don’t feel that because you are not the primary custodial parent that you cannot enjoy holidays and other significant events in their lives.
Though the time might be limited, it is truly the quality of time rather than the quantity of time that will build your relationships with your children. Don’t squander it away foolishly; they will be all grown up in the blink of an eye!
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