January 27, 2010

How to Stay Connected to Your Child When Parenting in Separate Households

I work with many parents who are separated, divorced or never married and they all share similar frustrations regarding the challenges of parenting in separate households. They miss their children when they're with the other parent and their children miss them as well.

There are some things you can do to help your child feel close to you even when they're not with you.

* Make a small photo album with photos of you and your child. Whenever they're missing you they can look at the photos for an instant connection. They can sleep with it under their pillow. Include photos from when they were a baby up to the present day. It will serve as time line and help them understand the transitions that are a part of your family. Remember to add new photos on a regular basis.

* When your child leaves your home to be with his or her other parent send along a t-shirt you've recently worn. When your child misses you he or she can wear the shirt, cuddle with it, and sleep with it. It will have your smell which can make you seem close. You could also send them one of your hats or a piece of jewelry, etc. Something of yours that they can hold onto is very comforting to a child.

* Make a habit of calling your children the same time each day. Some parents call in the morning and again at bedtime. Work out a system with your co-parent and your child will look forward to those daily phone calls. Web cams are another way of staying in touch.

Staying connected to your child can be challenging but with a little creativity and effort you can help your child feel close to you even when you're apart.

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