by Kristen Hilty
It’s not easy to be quarantined for weeks on end with your family (or anyone) without feeling anxious, depressed, bored, frustrated – it’s a roller coaster even when your marriage is intact. Although this is a rare opportunity to spend time with kids who are normally at school and other family members, let’s be real: It can also be difficult. Separated or divorcing parents face even greater challenges, whatever your living situation. Here are some tips to help maintain peace and sanity, keep busy and make the most of a difficult situation that just got harder.
Establish A Schedule And Routine For Everyone In The Household
Routine helps us focus and retain a sense of normalcy. Kids of different ages have different needs for school, activities and social interactions but here are some ideas that can help keep everyone feeling more “normal”. Try to keep routines as similar as possible in both households and make sure both parents agree and are on-board. If your spouse doesn’t agree and you are the only one enforcing a schedule, it’s better than not having one at all.
Create a schedule that works best for YOUR family and YOUR situation with set bedtimes and morning alarms: breakfast, schoolwork, free-time, lunch, exercise or outdoor activity, finish work, then evenings and nights for zoom calls, games, etc. Whether you’re both in the house or just one parent, working or temporarily at home, a schedule provides a little more normalcy. And try and make sure there’s a balance of learning, fun and family time.
Pick A Theme
Have a Christmas night, pick a new recipe, let kids who are old enough drink their water or milk at dinner out of a fancy glass, have a game night: give everyone something to look forward to and prepare for that night. Let everyone in the house pick a theme for the night.
Have Everyone Select A Space And Make It Their Own
Maybe mom works at the kitchen table and schoolwork is also done at the table, but everyone needs a space to call their own and use as a retreat. Let people pick their own “private place” for alone time. Designate family and individual spaces. If you have the space and can make a small investment, create a “meditation or quiet” are with a comfy chair, headphones, relaxing music, candles and an aromatherapy diffuser. If you have smaller kids let them make a fort or set up a small tent in a playroom or den.
Take Care Of Yourself And Give Yourself Permission To ‘Hide’ From Your Kids Or Spouse
Let’s be honest: sometimes we all feel stuck – global pandemic aside. Kids at different ages have different needs and its harder to get alone time with little ones but even 5 minutes to write, say your feelings out loud, or step outside will help. Allow yourself to feel your emotions: It’s completely ok and human to be frustrated.
Find A Way To Give Back
This can help get everyone out of their own heads and feel better. For example, write pictures or letters to people in a nursing home, offer to shop for an elderly neighbor, create artwork on one of your windows or make a sign to say “hello neighbors” on your front door, see if there are food donation centers near you. Whatever you choose, and everyone can contribute something different.
We wish you the best during this trying time. Let Better Divorce Solutions know if we can help in any way.