Consistency is something that I think most people desire as part of their lives. Though change brings the opportunity for new beginnings and renewal, the things that give us a "sameness" are comforting. This is especially true for children. The people and things that remain consistent and steady make children feel safe and secure. But the advent of a separation and divorce can shake that feeling of security for children. There are ways to minimize the emotional impact of change in your children's lives.

Providing physical continuity is essential, and trying to keep the people in their lives consistent now that they have two homes is just as important. The complexities of two homes with different neighborhoods, new friends and new surroundings can be unsettling, even for adults. Encouraging your children to embrace new things and people is great, but I will remind you to not forget the people who are already in their lives (cousins, grandparents, friends from the old neighborhood, etc).

When choosing a new home, each parent should place location as their top priority. Sometimes you might have to sacrifice features in a new home to stay close to your former spouse's home. Keeping the same nannies, babysitters, and day care centers can be invaluable in your child's transition from one home to two homes. Whenever location allows, both parents should keep their childcare providers consistent. When making arrangements for childcare, parents should appeal to nannies to travel the extra distance for the sake of the children. This may involve extra salary or compensation to your nanny, but the value far outweighs the cost.

Good communication is the key to helping your childcare provider's bridge the gap between both homes. Care should be taken to ensure your nanny remains neutral in any disputes and is supportive of both parents. Take enough time with your nanny to explain what your expectations are and seriously consider any insight and advice they may offer. Frequently they know details of your children's lives that may not be obvious, even to parents. Consult your nanny on details at every turn and make them a part of the process. Their relationship with your children is important to all of them and childcare professionals will appreciate your interest to their insight.

When location makes continuity of care givers impossible, introduce new nannies with established nannies to create a context for your children. Inviting new nannies to meet and interact with the entire family can be helpful. Don't forget to arrange meetings with new and old caregivers so that they can share their ideas and knowledge. Again, communication is the key to continuity. These professionals will share a common goal of a good transition for the children. Furthermore, their knowledge of your children's likes and dislikes, health information, food preferences, and the multitude of details of a child's life will allow new nannies to "hit the ground running."
I cannot stress enough the value of an open line of communication between everyone in your child's life. Talking together and pooling information allows parents to maintain the safety and security your child needs to have a smooth and healthy transition as their parents divorce. And that is, of course, everyone's goal.

Author's Bio: 

Brian James is an experienced Divorce and Family Mediator with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. He started his mediation practice, C.E.L. and Associates, in late 2005.

Brian earned his B.S. in Sociology from Northern Illinois University in 1994 and completed training in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at Northwestern University.

The first 10 years of his professional career, Brian worked in the Criminal Justice System helping domestic violence and divorcing families resolve family conflicts. He assisted with the healing process that took place after these life-changing events had occurred. His approach to mediation is client driven. By aiding his clients with the resolution of their divorce issues outside of the courtroom, Mr. James helps create a win/win situation for all parties in a divorce.

For more information please visit Brian's website, or give him a call at (312) 524-5829. He makes it a point to personally answer every call that is made to him.