The biggest worry parents have when they consider divorce is how the kids will react. No matter what you try to do, divorce is going to affect your children. There’s no way around it, it is a huge change in their lives. That’s the bad news. The good news is that one of the easiest ways to help your kids manage the new life change is to let them be kids!

Divorce is big and heavy and hard - for everyone. Giving your kids a chance to just be a kid can give them the space they need to get away from the feelings of heaviness for awhile.

How do you let your kid be a kid after divorce?

First, make sure there is playtime. Whatever the age of your children, there is something they like to do to just play. Even teenagers will listen to music, get involved in sports, or work on a hobby. As busy and chaotic as your life will feel, theirs will, too. You and your kids will benefit from playtime. Even if you have to schedule it, make it happen.

Get involved in playtime. Granted, this is easier with younger kids, but it can certainly happen with older children, too. Get on the floor with your younger kids. Schedule time to just enjoy whatever you and your older kids enjoy together. When you’re involved in their playtime, it makes them feel safe and loved.

Do not involve them in grown-up issues. You and your ex will disagree. You will want what’s best for your kids. Your ex will want what’s best for your kids. You may have 2 different ideas of what’s best for them. Asking your children to choose is unfair and puts them in a place no child wants to be. Having to choose between your parents is a feeling no child should have to feel.

Regardless of how you feel about your ex, your kids should only see that you want them to have a relationship with their other parent. Snide comments, constant questions, and badmouthing are noticed by your children. This turns into resentment and robs them of a childhood filled with love. Your children need to see that you love them and that you love their relationship with their other parent.

Teach them fun ways to manage the difficult times. Parents, therapy like adult coloring are popular for a reason. Remember back to your childhood? If you could sit and color a picture without a care in the world for an hour, there’s no reason you can’t again - this time with your kids! Did you used to take a basketball outside for hours and shoot hoops? Maybe you grabbed your fishing pole and lost track of time and all that was wrong. Whatever it is, now is the time to introduce it to your kids as a way for them to get away. Life has a way of having issues come up. When that happens, having a tool to manage it is the key to moving on.

Playtime isn’t just about play. It’s about safety, security, laughter, and even a way to manage the negative in life. Giving your kids a chance to be a kid is exactly what this Coach prescribes. In fact, try a dose or two for yourself, too.

Struggling with your own emotions? You're not alone. Divorce is listed as one of the top stressors you may ever go through. It's fair to say that it'll take awhile to get over it. In fact, new research shows the average is 2 years to get over a divorce. If you want to help move that along, the Emotional Freedom workbook is available for download right now. 

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Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach