Maintaining consistent routines in divorced families is of the utmost importance. In this article, we discuss in depth the exact ways in which routines in divorced families can help both children and parents:
Benefits of routines for children
Routines reduce the feeling of chaos during the transition
The period during and after divorce can often be very chaotic and confusing. In addition, as children move to a new home and lose the continued presence of both parents in their daily lives, the transition can start to feel highly unstable.
According to Mr John Shepherd Lim, the Chief Wellbeing Officer of the Singapore Counselling Centre, family routines instils a “sense of security, control and stability”. This makes it easier for families of children to cope with their changed circumstances.
Having a family routine can give them the one stable and familiar thing they can hold onto, despite the changes in their lives.
Routines help children ease into new households and comply with new rules
Once parents split up, children may move between two separate homes; each of which may have its own set of rules. These new rules may feel too foreign for children and sometimes may even refuse to follow these new set of rules.
The presence of a simple routine – such as a bedtime story every night or having a meal together at the table – can encourage children to be more accepting of the new household rules.
Routines help children seek help from the right parent for specific tasks
Family routines involve distributing certain sets of tasks to each parent. For example, the mother takes responsibility for school pick-ups and drop-offs. But the father is responsible for extracurricular activities such as games, recitals etc.
If children are aware of this routine, they will be better prepared to know which parent to contact if they need any support or help. Not having such consistent routines in divorced families can be highly confusing and daunting for children.
Routines will enable children to stay in touch with both parents
Family routines also direct how frequently and how much time children spend with each parent. Having a set schedule and routine for visitation can enable children to prepare physically and mentally to move to the other parent’s home. This type of planned move can prevent children from experiencing episodes of nervousness or anxiety.
Routines instil healthy habits and responsibilities in children of divorce
Sometimes, divorce can force children to lash out negatively. They may not do their chores as usual or follow instructions as a way of expressing their hurt, anger and fear. It’s necessary to address these issues quickly, so these tendencies don’t last always. Having consistent routines in divorced families can help children find ways to cope with their emotions positively. It will also instil discipline and responsibility in them.
Related Article: The Effect of Divorce on Children – An Age-by-Age Guide
Benefits of routines for parents
Routines prevent parents from becoming alienated from their children.
Just as children will get to spend time with both parents thanks to routines, parents too will be able to spend time with their children. Divorce can make parents estranged from their children, especially when there is no set visitation schedule.
With a consistent routine, parents can ensure they stay positively engaged in their children’s lives.
Routines prevent the occurrence of any new conflict/contention with their ex
Consistent routines in divorced families are essential to ensure that both parties collaborate to co-parent their children. In addition, these routines can help prevent misunderstanding and miscommunication about day-to-day scheduling and prevent conflicts.
Additionally, the routine can enable the Court to track whether both parties are discharging their duties with care or not if either party appeals to the divorce agreement.
Routines allow parents to fulfil their legal responsibilities towards the family
While most parents fulfil their legal and parental obligations after the divorce, some don’t. Consistent routines in divorced families ensure that both parents can devote their time and resources towards the care and upbringing of their children. Once these routines become habits, it becomes easier to maintain the new living arrangement.