Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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What are good “parenting strategies?”

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You can do a lot to help your children deal with separation or divorce. Here are some more tips.


Take care of yourself!

You can’t take care of your kids if you don’t take care of yourself. This is a stressful time for you, but your children still depend on you. Try to balance taking care of yourself and supporting your children. This isn’t easy, but it is important.

Take care of your physical and mental health. You will be able to handle everything better. If you are worn out or overtired, you might have trouble making tough decisions that come up.

  • Get enough rest. Get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.
  • Get some exercise every day. You can walk or go for bike rides with your children.
  • Eat healthy meals. If it’s hard for you to cook, try to make healthy choices when you eat out. Look for quick and healthy options at the grocery store.
  • Stick to your normal routine. It’s good for you to be around other adults.
  • Get support. Don't be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or co-workers who are close to you.


Make time for your children

  • Spend time with your kids. It will take your mind off your divorce. You will also be helping your kids feel better and stay close to you.
  • Do things that you and your children both like, or take turns deciding what to do together.
  • Have fun with your kids! Read books, go for bike rides, play games, go to the park or a movie.
  • Spend one-on-one time with each of your kids. You can use times when one child is doing something else to spend time with another child.  


Don’t change the rules

  • Keep the rules the same as they were before the separation or divorce.
  • Changing the rules now will just be confusing.


Keep routines the same

  • Your kids need structure. Regular rules and routines help them feel safe and normal.
  • Try to keep family routines the same as usual.
  • Support your kids in keeping up with their schoolwork and their usual activities.


Allow children to make choices

  • Your children might feel helpless because they don’t get to make any of the decisions about the divorce.
  • Let them make some choices in their daily lives. They will feel better having some control over the things they do.
  • Try to keep the choices simple. For example, have them choose between two pairs of pants when they get dressed or what kind of fruit to pack in their lunchboxes.


Let kids be kids!

Your children, especially if they’re teenagers, might try to take on some of the adult responsibilities in the house. It’s good for you to have help around the house. And it’s good for kids to have regular chores. But remember, your kids should also have the chance to “just be kids.”

Encourage them to keep doing things they enjoy, like hanging out with their friends. Try not to lean on them too much for support. If you need emotional support, talk to your adult friends and family.