Co-Parenting With No Communication?

Co-Parenting With No Communication

Communication is critical. A 2017 study found that lack of communication was the single leading cause of marital separations. Some couples were unable to resolve their arguments, while others stopped talking entirely. 

Lack of communication does not end when a relationship does. Many parents are co-parenting without remaining in contact with the other co-parent.

This can be for good reason. But at some point, you have to talk to your ex. 

When should you have a conversation, and what should it be about? How can you co-parent while having little to no contact with your ex? 

Answer these questions, and you can become a terrific co-parent. Here is your guide. 

During a Separation 

People go through a wide range of extreme emotions during a separation, even a mutual one. It is often a good idea to avoid talking to your ex. 

Talk to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker about what you are experiencing. Feel free to be emotional. The more you let out, the less you will take back to your home. 

If it will make you feel better, you can leave your home and find a temporary place to live. Try to stay with a friend or relative so you can talk to someone. Make sure you can remain in contact with your child. 

You should avoid communicating with your ex’s family and close friends. They may have strong opinions about you and vice versa. You should engage with them only if you are concerned about the well-being of your ex. 

Give yourself some alone time. Pray, meditate, or go for a walk. Try to be introspective, naming your feelings and finding ways of dealing with them. 

If you want to talk to your ex, be brief. Focus on your child and what both of you can do to provide support for them.

You may not want to talk to your ex. But both of you should break the news that you are separating. You should appear together, telling your child that you love them and will be in their lives. 

Prepare with your ex what you are going to say. Avoid talking about what led to the separation. Focus on assuring your child and leave it at that. 

Communication Advice

It is okay to avoid communicating with your ex for a few months. After a certain point, you should try to reach out to them. 

Ask to meet them in person in a professional setting. If it makes you or them feel comfortable, you can bring another person to the meeting. They can be a mediator or a mutual friend. 

Keep things formal. Approach the interaction like it is a business meeting. Speak with respect and neutrality, without getting emotional. 

Allow for some back-and-forth. Ask questions to the co-parent, and listen to what they have to say. Be prepared to make compromises and negotiate terms with them. 

If the conversation is not going well, do not become frustrated. Practice some quick stress relief techniques like wiggling your toes. 

Try to follow up on your dialogue, preferably in face-to-face interactions. If that’s not possible, schedule a time where you can talk on the phone. Email and text messages are too indirect and informal. 

Under no circumstances should you use your child as an intermediary. If you cannot communicate with your spouse directly, communicate through a friend or your lawyer. 

Working Out Co-Parenting Arrangements

There are several things you should work out with your ex. The first is child custody.

Nearly all couples resolve on joint custody, yet there are several models you can choose from. You can alternate weeks, or you can assign a few days within one week for each parent. You can pursue an option like nesting, where the child stays in one house and the parents alternate out. 

If you do not decide on joint custody, you must discuss visitation. A non-custodial parent should still play a role in their child’s life. You should discuss how the non-custodial parent and their child will interact, including over the phone. 

You also need to talk about finances. Both of you need to decide how you will pay for your child’s schooling, healthcare, and food. You can share bank accounts, or one can pay child support into the other’s bank account. 

Keep your interactions with your co-parent limited to these topics. Put into writing what you have decided, then run your arrangements by your lawyer. 

Write a formalized parenting plan. Include a schedule with specific times and dates for when each co-parent will assume custody. Describe how you will meet your child’s financial means

It is essential that you talk to your co-parent about these arrangements. If you cannot do so face-to-face, do so over the phone with your lawyer’s permission. If you cannot do that, let your lawyer and theirs talk to each other. 

Presenting a United Front

You may decide not to be in communication with your co-parent. This gives you a clean break from your relationship, which can help your healing process. 

But avoiding communications may pose some problems. You should not let your child know that you are not talking to their co-parent. If your child sees that you two are not talking, they may think that you will not talk to them. 

If they ask you a question about their other co-parent, remain as respectful as possible. Tell them that you are sorry that you and the co-parent live in separate houses. Remind them that you love them and care for them. 

Make sure that your style of parenting is consistent with their style. Curfews and means of discipline should be near identical. Both of you should check that your child is completing their homework assignments and doing well in school. 

Keep your child’s schedule as consistent as possible. Both you and your co-parent should make their meals at the same time. This will make the transition process a lot easier for them. 

Both of you should attend important events for your child. You can sit apart from each other, though your child should be able to see both of you at the same time. Make eye contact and cheer them on. 

Establishing Boundaries 

In front of your child, both of you need to work together. Behind the scenes, you should adopt some boundaries with your co-parent. 

Even if you establish some contact with them, you should not turn to your co-parent for relationship advice. Do not ask them or their friends if they are seeing anyone else. 

If you are seeing someone, you should not volunteer that information. Though your co-parent may be okay with your relationship, you may make things awkward with them. You should only talk about another relationship if it impacts your parenting. 

Avoid checking their social media pages. You can unfriend or block them. 

If they work at a place you frequent, try to avoid going to that place. If they see you, you may get into an argument with them. 

In general, try to avoid thinking about your co-parent’s personal or professional life. It is not relevant to your own. Focus on yourself and your child’s needs. 

Long-Distance Parenting

You will have to engage in some long-distance parenting at some point. Your child may want to make a phone call to you. You may be away on business and unable to fulfill your custody obligation. 

For two co-parents who do not want to contact each other, long-distance parenting is essential. There is no need for the two co-parents to meet and exchange the child. The child can remain in one room and interact with their co-parent from a distance. 

There are several long-distance co-parenting tips you can consider. Use software like Zoom that allows your child to see you. A phone call is okay, but a video feed provides a stronger connection. 

You may be away from your child, but you can still have fun. Play games like “Would You Rather” that let you talk with your child about silly topics. 

Create some fun traditions with them. Designate a night of the week as a game night, or find some way both of you can give back to your community.

Do make sure that you can find time to interact with your child in person. Work out a time with your co-parent where you two can do something together. 

Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs

It is possible to pick up and drop off your child without speaking to the other parent. You should notify them about when you are arriving. 

You can remain outside, then your co-parent can let your child out. Bring your child into a car and drive off. 

If you don’t want to go near your co-parent, you can ask someone to bring your child to your house. A close relative like a grandparent is best for this. 

During Emergencies 

In your parenting plan, you and your co-parent should decide how to handle emergencies. You should determine what custody will look like if one of you cannot assume your role. You should also decide how to contact the other co-parent if your child is in an emergency. 

It is important that you contact your co-parent if your child is sick or injured. You do not have to give full details.

You should tell them what is going on and how your child is doing. If your child is in the hospital, you should tell them which hospital. The co-parent should let you know when they are arriving. 

When both of you can visit your child, both of you should visit. Try to visit them at the same time to show united support. If that’s not possible, decide a time when each of you can talk to your child independently.  

Pursuing a New Life

As mentioned previously, you should not talk about any new relationships you are pursuing. But your partner may want to play a role in your child’s parenting. 

You should talk to your co-parent about this. They may feel uncomfortable with your partner disciplining or preparing meals for your child. Your partner can fulfill another role, like picking your child up from school. 

Your partner should stay within some boundaries. They should not insist that your child call them “Mom” or “Dad.” They should not counteract the parenting style of the other co-parent, though they can voice disagreements privately. 

You should also talk to your co-parent about other children. You may have a new child with your partner, or your partner may have children of your own. 

Your conversation does not have to be long. Your co-parent will not play a role in parenting your partner’s children. But they should know that their interactions with their child may change, now that there are other children in your house. 

You should always look for better communication and better parenting skills. You can talk to your co-parent about what you are figuring out.

But if the co-parent is unwilling to interact with you, don’t force interactions. Move on with your life and remain in touch with the ones you love. 

Co-Parenting the Right Way

Co-parenting while having limited communication with your ex is possible. You should refrain from talking to them during the separation. But you do need to formalize co-parenting terms. 

When you talk to them, be professional and calm. Present a united front while keeping boundaries behind the scenes.

Provide some long-distance parenting tools and drop-off protocols so you both can talk to your child. Touch base with them during emergencies and major life decisions, like having a new child.

Live the best life you can with the facts. 2houses is the Internet’s authoritative service for co-parenting. Contact us today. 

Co-Parenting a Conflictual Siblings Relationship: A Complete Guide

conflictual siblings relationship

If you have more than one child, sibling rivalry is almost inevitable. The reasons for sibling rivalry are plentiful. As are the behaviors that arise as a result of a conflictual siblings relationship.

Managing this conflict alongside managing co-parenting challenges can feel impossible. But you’re not alone.

Many single parents deal with sibling rivalry. Many more deal with it alongside another co-parent. You just need the right information and techniques to do so.

Our complete guide will take you through everything you need to know about sibling conflict and how to resolve it as a co-parent.

What Causes Sibling Rivalry?

We’ll start by saying sibling rivalry is common in all types of family units. Whether that family has married parents, divorced parents, or one parent, one constant remains — sibling rivalry.

It is most common in families where children are of the same gender and close in age. In fact, identical twins are believed to struggle the most with sibling rivalry.

All this is to say, the cause of sibling rivalry is not often the parents or family dynamic. Although, there is obviously less sibling rivalry in homes where children feel they are treated equally.

Knowing the cause of sibling rivalry can help you figure out how to address it. The most common factors are as follows:

Birth Order

It’s true the most common sibling rivalries occur when children are closest in age. But birth order also makes a difference.

This is because the birth order of your children has an impact on them as individuals. Studies have shown this to be true many times. This impact will affect their relationship with you and their siblings. 

The characteristics associated with birth orders influence the likeliness of sibling rivalry. For example, firstborn children tend to be perfectionistic and may feel threatened by a new sibling. While second-born children tend to avoid conflict and be more in tune with other people’s emotions.

There’s no guarantee your children will follow these characteristic patterns. But you can see how these behaviors could create more conflict between siblings as personalities clash.

It’s also worth noting your own sibling position in your family impacts how you treat your children. Your experiences growing up as a first, middle, or youngest child will all affect how you treat your children.

For example, you may find it easier to relate to your oldest child if you were also the oldest child. This isn’t a bad trait, but it can cause jealousy. 

Age Difference

We mentioned age difference as a factor above, but it’s worth expanding on. Age difference affects the intensity of the rivalry.

This is because siblings close in age tend to have more access to each other. This increased access means they’re more likely to get into physical fights. While siblings further apart in age tend to spend less time with each other.

The ages of your children will also affect the likelihood of sibling rivalry. At preschool age, children are in a dog-eat-dog developmental phase. This increases the chance of conflicts. 

The good news is as children develop and grow older, conflicts should decrease. School-aged children are in a law-and-order developmental phase. They can recognize and enforce fairness.

High school-aged children have developed conscience. They should also have developed conflict resolution techniques. This means they’re less likely to fight and parents are less likely to need to intervene.


Every child has their unique temperament. From cheeky to laid-back to challenging, we all characterize our children in some way. It’s a totally normal thing for parents to do.

But because of these temperaments, parents may treat their children differently, as may their siblings. More laid-back or easy children will annoy their siblings and parents less, thus decreasing conflict. While more challenging children will do the opposite and increase potential sibling conflict. 


In some families, a child of one sex is preferred. This may only be by one parent, as opposed to both.

Regardless, children who are not the preferred gender will notice. As will the child who is the preferred gender. This unequal treatment is bound to create rivalry and increase conflict between siblings.

Physical Influences

All humans are affected by physical factors, but this is never truer than in childhood. Physical factors like tiredness, hunger, and illness will all affect sibling relationships. Even children who get on well may suddenly transform into siblings who always fight.

Other physical influences include living conditions. A messy or chaotic home will create more stress for children. Even sharing a room may increase how often children interact and may increase fights.

In co-parenting situations, where siblings share a room at one home and not the other, this complicates the issue further. There may be instances of fighting siblings at one home and not at the other. This can make single parents feel like they’re the issue when it often isn’t the case.

Parenting Style

All of the above said, parenting style does affect the likelihood of sibling conflict. Parenting styles tend to range from very aggressive on one end to very lax on the other.

Either style will increase the chance of sibling conflict. Aggressive styles may see that behavior modeled in their children’s treatment of each other. Lax styles may feel lacking in structure or attention and may fight more.

Transitional Times

Big life changes are inevitable. Children learn to cope with these as they develop and through experiencing them firsthand. Whether it’s a new baby, a divorce, or a house move, children react to change.

This reaction may come in the form of issues with siblings intensifying. It’s important to recognize when your child is going through a big change and plan accordingly.

This doesn’t mean cutting them slack altogether. But instead, teaching them how to express and navigate these feelings in a healthier way.

How to Mend a Conflictual Siblings Relationship

To effectively address a conflictual siblings relationship, it’s so important to start with the cause. From here, recognize the behaviors that have arisen as a result of it, to figure out how to address it.

The most common behaviors from a conflicted sibling relationship included:

  • Name-calling
  • Poking
  • Blaming
  • Lying
  • Stealing from each other
  • Bickering
  • Teasing
  • Arguing
  • Tattling
  • Hiding each other’s belongings
  • Breaking each other’s belongings
  • Hitting
  • Throwing things
  • Kicking
  • Biting

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Any parent can tell you that children find creative ways to torment each other!

The silver lining is that some sibling rivalry is beneficial to children’s development. Children learn to deal with power struggles and resolve conflicts. They also learn to negotiate and compromise when needed.

However, that doesn’t make the behavior acceptable to ignore. Some of this behavior is easy to tackle using normal parenting techniques like timeouts or warnings. Whereas more aggressive behavior, or more frequent displays of these behaviors, may be more concerning.

To begin with, manage your expectations. Ideally, you will do this between both parents. Sit down and discuss what realistic relationships your children may have.

For example, it is unrealistic to expect children to get on all the time. But it is not unrealistic that children know how to share with each other. 

Once you figure out a reasonable expectation of behavior, you need to approach it as a team. This means presenting a united front, whatever your own issues, and being consistent. It can also help you know when to intervene.

The easiest way to know how and when to intervene is with a traffic light system.

The Traffic Light System

Knowing when to intervene in children’s squabbles stops them from turning into a full-blown argument. The traffic light system is a simple technique. It’s designed to help you reflect on your children’s behavior and think about what your children need from you.

We’ll use examples to explain each step.

Green Light

Green light behavior would be normal sibling behavior. Things like minor name-calling, copying each other, or bickering would all fall under this light.

This is natural behavior and nothing to worry about. You don’t need to intervene. Only if your children escalate behavior should alarm bells start ringing.

Yellow Light

The same behavior that was fine a moment ago has escalated. The names have become a bit nastier and you can tell there is some upset. The volume has increased and maybe there has even been minor physical content.

This is the first point you should step in, but not to discipline. Hear each child out and acknowledge their feelings. Reflect on their views and encourage them to do the same.

This should resolve the issue as they feel they have been heard. But you can also encourage them to move on and change the topic to something else.

Orange Light

Orange light behavior sits on the borderline between play-fighting and real fighting. It can often be difficult to tell which children are doing. It can also change in a moment, from play-fighting to real fighting. 

Don’t barge in and demand they stop. Ask whether it’s play or real fighting. Make sure to hear both children out.

If it is play-fighting the break may help them reset to calmer behavior. If it’s escalated to a real fight, help them with conflict resolution, as in the step above.

Red Light

Red light behavior is unacceptable behavior that needs immediate, firm intervention. This could include a physical fight or emotional harm.

In these instances, stop your children and separate them physically if needed. If a child is injured, tend to that child first. Review the rules with both children and impose a consequence as needed. 

Consequences could include time out or confiscating an item thrown. But it’s important to make sure consequences are enforced fairly in each circumstance.

The key to making the traffic light system work is figuring out what your children need from you. Ask yourself why a behavior may be occurring and how your children might resolve it. This will help you know when to intervene.

Consistent Co-Parenting

As we said above, the key to managing conflicting siblings as co-parents is to behave with consistency. This means you have established rules, techniques, and consequences in both households.  

This creates structure for children. Some poor sibling rivalry behavior may still occur, but it will decrease with age and time. It also gives you the tools to manage it which can help you feel more confident.

It can help to come up with family rules to refer back to. These can be agreed upon between parents and even displayed in both homes. You can come up with these with the kids, all together as one unit. 

Common rules would include treating each other with respect, no hitting, and no tattling. But figure out what works best for you and your family.

We all know positive reinforcement goes a lot further than negative reinforcement. So it’s important both parents encourage healthy sibling relationships.  

This means being fair and not showing favoritism, as well as treating children as unique individuals. Encourage communication of feelings wherever possible and praise good communication and kindness.

In co-parenting relationships, it’s common for children to play one parent off the other if they feel they can. Regular, private communication between you and your co-parent is so important for this very reason. It stops this behavior in its tracks and lets your child know it won’t work.

Difficult Co-Parenting Relationships

It should go without saying, many co-parenting relationships are less than ideal. While all of the above advice is helpful if your co-parent is cooperative, it’s not the case for everyone.

In these instances, you can still use the same techniques above in your household. Creating harmony, consistency, and structure in your home will help your children achieve their best behavior. It may take much longer due to a lack of consistency with the other parent.

The easiest way to explain this to your children is by being transparent. Explain you know there are different rules, but these are the rules and expectations at your home. 

Keep It Consistent

It’s important to remember that conflictual siblings relationships are normal. They can be resolved by getting to the root of the problem. Then, applying consistent, fair techniques to address unwanted behavior from both co-parents.

You can find more helpful advice for many common co-parenting issues on our blog.

Divorcing Someone With Mental Illness – What You Need To Know

Divorcing Someone With Mental Illness

Divorce has never been easy. It involves going through tremendous amounts of pain, struggling with mental and physical health, managing other aspects of divorce when you have no energy left. It can strike even worse to the people who are already suffering from mental health issues. For such people, the process can be a little more complicated but remember that there is always the light at the end of the tunnel. And it all gets better with time.

If you’re divorcing a spouse with mental illness, it changes the whole negotiation process and, in some cases, it might get really hard to come to reasonable negotiations. While you’re at it, you could use some tips to make it as smooth as you can. Let’s hear it out:

Tips To Follow When You’re Divorcing Someone With Mental Illness

There are so many things that you need to keep in mind. We have tried to narrow down our list to few tips that prove to be the most effective:

Do Not Try To Change The Person

Well, the one thing that’s definitely not going to work is changing the person with mental illness. You can try to make amends in yourself, your actions, and your divorce process, but you don’t mess up with theirs. Mental issues are something that doesn’t go away that quickly. You have to understand their concerns and take your next step accordingly. If there are a lot of issues in their approaches, you must seek professional help.

Wait For Them To Be In Their Right Mind

People with mental illness have their ups and downs. They have their bad days and good days. So, never ever make a move when their mental state is highly unstable. Instead, wait for them to reach the state of mind when they are able to think clearly. That is the time when they will be able to make reasonable decisions. Therefore, never rush things when you’re divorcing someone mentally ill. Always choose the best time for talking to them.

Do Not Feel Guilty About Yourself

Poor mental health may affect a relationship a lot. You might want to be there for your partner, but sometimes it consumes you all. Then comes the time when you get tired and want an out. Let us assure you that it is okay to feel that way. It is okay to look for your own happiness instead of giving someone your all. So, if you face the feelings of guilt, failure, and loneliness, do not forget to remind yourself that your mental health is important too and that you have the right to be happy no matter what. If that takes moving out of the marriage, so be it.

Keep The Divorce Process Friendly

No matter how complicated the situation gets, always try your best to keep things friendly from your end – especially if you have children to look after. Do not fight over unnecessary details and try to make reasonable agreements with your spouse. Keep their mental situation in mind while you do that. Go for some other more friendly divorce alternatives if you can. It’s okay if you have to lose a thing or two, but make sure the divorce process is easy on both of you.

Starting The Divorce Process

When you’re filing or starting the divorce, you must mention and state the “grounds” for divorce or reasons for the separation – and mental health concerns of your spouse can be one. If you are divorcing your spouse on the faults grounds, you must provide proof of abuse, negles, ignorance, incurable mental illness, infidelity, abandonment, or other fault factors allowed and recognized by your state as the grounds for divorce.

Obtaining a no-fault divorce, on the other hand, is typically a simpler process and doesn’t require you to prove the cause of your divorce. Virtually every state recognizes “no fault” grounds where a couple can simply plead that irreconcilable differences led to the marriage’s breakdown.

However, if you’re seeking a divorce due to a spouse’s severe mental health issues, you may want to file for a fault-based divorce. In certain circumstances, you could be entitled to a larger share of marital assets or a higher support award if you’re able to prove your spouse’s mental health issues caused the marriage’s breakdown. If you’re unsure whether a fault or no-fault divorce is right for you, contact a local family law attorney for advice.

Can Your Spouse’s Mental Illness Prevent You From Obtaining Divorce?

Mental illness can be a legal defense against some of the criminal charges but these rules are not applicable as far as divorce cases are concerned. Your divorce is not assessed on the basis of mental illness of your spouse. Neither you nor your spouse can avoid a certain divorce by pleading mental health issues. Nevertheless, a person going through mental illness may be entitled to some additional privileges and protection under the law especially if the respective spouse is residing in the mental health facility. There are many states in Canada where a judge will appoint a guardian to represent a spouse who has impairing mental health issues or is housed in a mental health facility to ensure that the ill spouse’s legal interests are protected and ideally represented in a divorce.

Mental Illness & Child Custody

A mentally ill person may lose their parental rights due to mental illness under extreme conditions. If the court feels that a parent’s mental illness is affecting the child’s health or well-being or if they feel that the child’s best interest requires them to be removed from their custody, only then one’s parent’s right might be terminated.

Below-mentioned conditions can lead to the termination of one’s parental rights:

  • The parent has not been able to be present for their children due to mental illness.
  • The parent is not able to provide for their children’s needs due to mental illness..
  • The child has been removed from the parent’s care due to mental health concerns in the past and legal expectations have not been met.

Even the persons who are proactively treating their mental illness and have been able to maintain good health, they will be treated the same as the person with mental illness in the court. In general, having a mental illness won’t jeopardize child custody without any reasonable cause.

Just keep in mind that there is no single factor that can determine the result of a custody case. And therefore, your mental health issues won’t necessarily strengthen or weaken your case. On the contrary, a judge will evaluate your family’s overall circumstances to determine the custody of your child. And they will make decisions according to your child’s best interest.

Your mental health issues can be one of various factors that a judge might keep in mind while making a decision in your case. Here are some factors that can be looked upon by a judge to determine your custody case:

  • the child’s need, how developed the child is, and the child’s age
  • the kind of relationship child shares with each of the parent
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs and provide a good life
  • The age of each parent and their physical and emotional health
  • How well the child adjusts to the school and community
  • The kind of relationship child shares with siblings and extended family members
  • History of domestic violence by either parent
  • The willingness of each parent to allow a relationship between the child and the child’s other parent, and
  • any other relevant factor.

These were some of the many factors that a judge might consider before giving you the custody of the child. Parents with more severe mental health issues may face greater obstacles to obtaining custody. Also, your family’s living environment and unique circumstances may also affect your custody case. The idea is to protect the rights and best interests of the child.

How To Protect Your Mental Health During Divorce?

The entire process of divorce can be mentally exhausting and emotionally draining. It jeopardizes your overall well-being, no matter if you’re mentally ill or not. Therefore, it is very important that you reach out to the therapists or your loved ones for the emotional support you might need at the moment. At the same time, keep a healthy diet, work out whenever you can, and take a walk into nature when you’re feeling low or lost. Maintaining good sleeping patterns and meditating will also help.

7 Useful Road Trip Travel Tips for Single Parents with Kids

Road Trip Travel Tips for Single Parents with Kids

Today the notion of traveling exceeds beyond just the boundaries of fun and adventure. It acts as an anchor to bond with your close ones, finding time for yourself and rejuvenate. Today, a large percentage of single parents are choosing to travel with their kids to fill the gaps and discover a new dimension of family bonding. But easier said than done, traveling with kids can be challenging as a single parent. You will have to take care of a range of responsibilities. To avoid hassles and unnecessary troubles, consider these seven practical travel tips to make the most of your time with your upcoming tour!

1.   Set Your Tour Expectations Right

New parents do not have much experience in managing kids when out for a tour. But the task even gets challenging when you are a single parent and trying, and the journey is long. The biggest mistake is comparing the tour expectations with your travel experience in the past. It is important to set each expectation by keeping the kids in mind. It will ensure you enjoy the tour to the fullest and neither you nor your kids are disappointed.

2.   Involve Your Kids into the Plan

Traveling with children will add to your responsibilities and accountabilities. Some responsibilities like taking care of their health, dealing with the chattering, miscellaneous tantrums are inevitable. While you make up your mind to deal with them all by yourself, you can just have a chat with them about the trip. This way, they shall feel a sense of responsibility. They might even cooperate with you a little if you are lucky!

3.   Add A Little Fun and Free Up Space with a Roof Rack

The more spacious the cargo, the better the trip! There is a range of car accessories out there available today. You can use them to make your road trip a lot more fun! The 4runner roof rackis one of the accessories that you should consider getting installed on your vehicle. It is a lightweight, robust weight rack that extends the flexibility of your cargo. Once attached to the roof, you can store or keep any accessory you want in its slots.

Setting up a tent right at the top of your car is also a brilliant way to clean up a lot of space in the cargo. This will make things easy for you and your kids. You do not have to cut down on the options of carrying luggage for the kids.

4.   Take Care of Travel Sickness

As per surveys, car sicknesses are the foremost concerns parents have when traveling with kids. Many kids are prone to this problem, and it is unavoidable most of the time. So you should be well-prepared. Drivers or front seat users are less likely to get sick. This is because the one engaged in motor skills rarely feels sick, and also, the front section undergoes less bouncing movement.

Motion sickness is more common among back-seat passengers and especially kids. So, you can travel with a couple of disposable bags and some nausea preventive edibles. These can include some peppermint candies, lime juice, and any safe medication.

5.   Indulge Them in Offline Games!

The concept of traveling existed and was cherished long before the emergence of cell phones or tablets. Today’s kids grow up amidst technology. The drive can be an excellent opportunity to take your kid’s eyes off the digital screen. You can plan or arrange for some cool car games that they can play comfortably in the back seat. Alphabet games, card games, memory games, musicals can serve just perfectly to keep the kids entertained and busy!

6.   Take Frequent Breaks

Do not forget that your kids do not have the same capacity as you have while traveling. They are more engrossed in the nitty-gritty of the tour than just reaching the destination. Kids tend to get bored very quickly or begin to feel tired. Hence, single parents should take frequent breaks.

If you are traveling somewhere far and using the highways, you will find many roadside attractions or restaurants. The small breaks might add up a little time to your journey, but they’ll be worth it. You can rest assured that this little trick shall add to the excitement of your kids. Parks, restaurants, pools, lakes, supermarkets are some of the examples that you can consider for your stop-by option!

7.   Keep Fast Food at Bay

People often tend to pick up fast food when they hit the road for a long trip. The casual eatery chains are abundant and affordable when on the way. They are delicious, easy to carry and eat! But, when traveling with kids, they can also get you in trouble. It is not a good idea to load the little tummies with processed or junk food. This can often make them feel nauseous in a long journey. In the worst scenarios, it can make them sick, which you do not want! The best is to replace junk food with home-cooked dry snacks, fruits, and health drinks!

Final Thoughts

Health professionals suggest that traveling can have many positive impacts on budding minds. Thus, traveling has become common practice in single-parent families. It helps to provide the young members the joy, excitement, and lifestyle they truly deserve. Even if you are new to your single parenting role, the above tips will navigate you through the first road trip with your children.

Co-Parenting an Autistic Child: Everything You Need to Know

Co-Parenting an Autistic Child: Everything You Need to Know

Raising a child with autism can be both challenging and rewarding. 

Research shows that 1 in 54 children has autism spectrum disorder. Children with autism experience the world in a number of different ways. Many of them experience their parents’ separation and feel overwhelmed. 

Co-parenting an autistic child does not have to be a burden. You just need to familiarize yourself with strategies for helping autistic children. Then, you can adapt your strategies to your new life. 

It’s important to get the facts you need to help the children in your care. Here is your quick guide. 

Explaining a Separation 

Many children struggle to understand why their parents are getting a divorce. They feel upset, or they may want to be alone in order to process the news. 

Children with autism are no different. You should loop them in on what is going on.

Children with autism are perceptive and introspective. They just express and process information in different ways. 

Practice what you are going to say in advance. You can write notes or record a video rehearsing your thoughts. 

Both parents should tell the child that a separation is occurring. If you each talk to the child individually, you each may provide conflicting information. You should both show that you will support your child for the rest of your lives. 

Remain calm and clear as you’re talking. Do not cast blame on the other parent, and do not frame the separation as being one parent’s initiative. Explain that you both want something different in life. 

Your child may have many questions. Answer them. Assure them that they are not the cause of the separation. 

You can use a social story to help them understand. This is especially good for younger children or non-verbal individuals. 

However, do not talk down to your child. Put things in age-appropriate terms. 

Your child may react in a number of different ways. They may laugh or smile, or they may not show emotions at all. Be prepared for any reaction and provide calming activities for them after you have your conversation. 

Negotiating Custody

While you are negotiating custody, keep things as normal for your child as possible. Both parents should try to live in the same house. If that’s not an option, both parents should contact the child every day. 

Most separations result in joint custody. Joint custody has many advantages, including that it keeps a child in contact with both parents.

If you were not in an abusive relationship, you should opt for some sort of joint measure. This will give a good structure for your entire family. 

You can tell your child informal updates on how things are going, but don’t burden them with details. Keep them focused on school, friends, and therapy. 

Update their therapist, doctor, teacher, and support staff about your separation. It is essential that all of you are on the same page. You do not have to give details, but explain why your child may be unwilling to participate in activities. 

If your child is a teenager, keep in mind their rights during the separation process. Most states allow negotiators and judges to consider their wishes for custody and visitation. 

While deciding upon child support, make sure you talk over terms for your child’s therapy. Everything should be provided for in the plan.


If your child needs significant help from both of you, a bird-nesting arrangement can work. In bird-nesting, the child stays in one home.

Then, the co-parents rotate living in that home based on their custody arrangement. While one co-parent lives in the family home, the other lives in another property. 

You can also arrange to have both co-parents stay in the same home but in different parts of the house. This provides maximum continuity for a child with autism. 

You can also use bird-nesting as a transition into joint custody. While you work out the final terms, you swap out while the child remains in the home. Once those terms are done, you can transition to 50/50 visitations.

Or, you can use bird-nesting as a permanent custody solution, which can be tricky. If you or your co-parent finds a new partner, it is difficult to manage a relationship while living in the same house as your ex. 

Work over boundaries and conditions. In particular, figure out how daily expenses and housing costs will be paid.

One aspect to keep in mind? Bird-nesting can lead a child to believe their parents are getting back together. They may find it confusing that their parents are rotating out.

Explain the arrangements in terms they will understand. 

You may find that bird-nesting is a great short-term solution. But in the long term, it can result in disputes with your co-parent. If that is the case, feel free to adapt, but make sure the whole family is on board. 

Handling Transitions

Many children with autism struggle with changes to their routines. They can become upset when playtime is cut short or lunchtime comes later. Having to live somewhere else can be particularly troublesome.

Make the transition as easy as possible for your child. One way that can help is creating an extended custody schedule. If you share 50/50 custody, trade your child off every week instead of every night.

Develop a little transition ritual you can perform. It can be something simple as reading a book or going out for a walk. Be sure to maintain this ritual so your child understands that it signals a move to another home. 

Give your child a calendar so that they know what the schedule is. Remind them of how many more days they will be at home with you. This gives them time to process their emotions. 


If you do not decide on joint custody, you may decide one parent should have sole custody. The other parent will have visitation time, usually amounting to 20% of parenting time

This can be disruptive to children with autism, who want consistent routines. Select a regular visitation time with your other co-parent.

Keep the time consistent and extended. Rather than having one weeknight visit every week, opt for an extended visit of a couple of weeks. 

If you are the parent with visitation, make things as normal as possible. Give plenty of time for your child to do homework and pursue therapy. Integrate some fun activities, but act in a similar manner to your other co-parent. 

Make sure the child can contact both parents whenever they want to. Your child should have phone numbers and email addresses for both of you. 

The Process of Co-Parenting

Co-parenting by yourself does not have to be different than parenting with your former partner. Give your child the best tools out there to learn, play, and grow in a healthy environment. 

Set boundaries and behavioral guidelines with your other co-parent. Decide how you want to discipline your child and teach them important skills. 

Do your best to keep your child in the same school and with the same medical professionals. Too many changes at once can overwhelm them. 

Your child may test your rules, especially if they want something like a toy or an unhealthy snack. Stick to your guidelines. Both co-parents should present a united and communicative front. 

Engage in floor activities with your child. Many children with autism struggle to make eye contact. Get down on the floor and play with different toys. 

Give them age-appropriate and sensory-appropriate toys. Some children have difficulty with textures, so select soft and adjustable objects. 

When giving instructions, use smaller sentences. It can take a while for a child with autism to process long instructions. 

Keep in mind that your child may ask about the other co-parent. You can talk about them, but be brief and respectful. Do not bash them or jump to conclusions about what they are doing. 

Introducing New Partners

It is never a good idea to introduce your new partner to a child immediately after a divorce. It can be especially troublesome for a child with autism, as it can easily confuse and trouble them. 

Talk to your partner about what sort of parenting role they want to play. They may be willing to get involved in your child’s life. They may want you to take the lead. 

Whatever role they want to play, educate them on what life is like with an autistic child. Talk about your child’s development and what they do for therapy. Notify your partner about any behaviors like self-stimulation actions that they may find surprising. 

When you make the introduction itself, keep things brief and cordial. Notify your child in advance about who they will meet. Let your partner talk for themselves, but intervene if your child reacts badly. 

After the introduction, touch base with your partner. If they feel comfortable continuing a relationship, allow them to interact. 

If your partner is of a different background than the other co-parent, your child may make an uncomfortable remark. Prepare your partner ahead of time so you both know how to approach the conversation together. 

Introducing New Siblings

If your new partner has children of their own, you should also wait to introduce them. Even if you think they will get along, it can be overwhelming for everyone to meet new people. 

Talk to your partner’s children. Tell them that your child may process things a little differently, but they can still play and talk together. 

As with introducing your new partner, you want to preview the introduction for all parties. Provide a space where all of the children feel comfortable interacting with each other. It’s a good idea to play a game or read a book. 

You can move in with your partner and their children, but do notify your child of your decision. In the new environment, hold to the old routines your child had. 

Their new siblings may feel you are neglecting them, so make sure to spend plenty of time with all of the children in your care. Set aside activities you can do with those kids so they don’t feel alone. 

Caring for Yourself 

Raising an autistic child in and of itself can difficult. Dealing with a separation on top of them increases the difficulty. 

Once you and your child have settled into your routine, make sure you take time to care for yourself. During times where your co-parent is watching over your child, do things you like to do. Travel, have dinner out, and pursue creative projects. 

There are support groups for people dealing with a separation and raising autistic children. You can attend both. You can also speak to a therapist who can address both issues at once. 

Talk to an expert about what you can do to help your child with autism. Every child with autism is different, and it’s important to get all the information you need. 

Along the way, make sure that you take time to rebuild your confidence. Accept the past and celebrate the positives that are going on in your life.

Interact with your support network, including your child. They love you and want what’s best for you. 

Find Success Co-Parenting an Autistic Child

Co-parenting an autistic child requires a few different steps. Both co-parents should explain the separation together. During custody, measures should be taken to provide normalcy and routine, like nesting.

Pay a lot of attention to creating smooth transitions. Provide time for your child to do normal things. 

Take time introducing new partners and new siblings. You should also take time to care for yourself and reach out to others. 

You can be a great co-parent once you have the facts. 2houses is the Internet’s leading service for co-parents. Contact us today for more advice and information.  

Top Tips For Effective Long-Distance Parenting

Effective Long-Distance Parenting

The challenge of long-distance parenting can be overwhelming, no matter the age of your child or how well you get along with the non-custodial parent. Beyond the concept of holidays and special events, day-to-day living can also be strenuous on everyone involved. While every situation is unique, there are some strategies for being as close as possible, even from a distance. Below are just a few tips to ensure that this living arrangement is as easy as possible for all parties.  

Focus On Communication

One of the most vital things to do in a long-distance parenting situation is to keep up with communication. Just because you are not living under the same roof does not mean that communication should disappear or dwindle. Now more than ever, it is imperative for the safety and happiness of your child to be communicative, not only about their day-to-day lives but about how they are in general. Not only is communication between you and your child important, but communication between you and the co-parent is equally as important. Some communication points to consider:

  • Who are your child’s friends? How often do they see them outside of school?
  • How are they performing in school?
  • What activities are they participating in?
  • Are there any areas of concern to which both parents should be aware of?
  • What does your child need from you in terms of communication?
  • If this is a new process, what can make this easier?

These are just a few of the things that should be communicated, but the list can be endless. While it is not necessary to hover or be a helicopter parent, it is crucial to not keep either parent in the dark about things, no matter how your relationship with the co-parent is. Communication shows that even though you are not physically present all the time, you still have an enormous amount of care for your child and the life that they are living.  One line of questioning to avoid is asking too in-depth about how the custodial parent is doing. A high-level ask is fine, but avoid badgering your child to get “dirt” on the parent that they spend the most time with. Once you have the more serious questions out of the way, try asking more valuable questions to forge the bond you have. Asking deeper questions opens a conversation for you to learn something you didn’t know about your child! 

Conversely, have your child communicate with you. In a long-distance parenting relationship, it’s not uncommon for a child to shut down in a way. Encourage your child to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and any questions they may have. If you have a younger child, they might feel that your absence is their fault, whereas an older child might not need as many phone calls as you might assume. Keeping these lines of communication open makes for an easier time for everyone and will eliminate any chance of a misunderstanding.

While you are making the efforts to reach out to your child and connect with them from a distance, it is important to remember that they are living their life. Don’t get discouraged if they miss a phone call from time-to-time or ask to change the routine. Part of understanding is being available for your child (and sometimes, the custodial parent). Being available to talk fosters a positive relationship between all parties and makes this lifestyle easy to adjust to.  

Make Time For Fun

Even though it might not be possible to plan in-person activities with your child every day or week, you can plan virtual activities to still spend quality time with them. In today’s day and age, it is important to connect with your child when possible. There are several Zoom games that you and your family can play together, no matter how young or old. For example, playing a family-friendly version of “Would You Rather” can open up avenues for additional conversation and learning. For older kids, you can download phone games such as “Heads Up” for a competitive guessing game. 

When you plan to visit your child, it can be easy to overdo the planning with over-the-top activities. While visiting, try to keep the focus on your time together and less about the activity you’re doing. This not only sets realistic expectations for the time that you are together but limits the possibility of your child choosing a “favorite parent” to be around. 

Prepare For The Future 

One of the hardest facets of long-distance parenting is not knowing what the future will bring. Not being in the same household can create stress and uncertainty, and it’s beneficial to set up preparations for any circumstance. 

While it’s not the easiest thing to think about, it is beneficial to consider your child’s financial security once you’re gone. One way to think ahead is to research the cost of a life insurance policy. A life insurance policy pays out a lump sum of money in the case of your passing. While this benefit cannot replace you as a lost parent, it can provide money to help pay for the mortgage payment of where your child lives or even college tuition. It can also help the custodial parent with any lost child support. With this policy, you can designate one or multiple beneficiaries, giving your family the financial support they need. 

Another way to plan ahead is to create a family emergency binder. This simple yet effective planning tool can help you organize your files and have everything located in one place if an emergency were to occur. In the case of needing to leave your home in a hurry, this one binder can provide all necessary information for not only yourself but your dependents as well. Things to have in the emergency binder include:

  • Insurance Policies (homeowners, auto, life, and medical)
  • Medical Information (allergies, medical conditions, medications)
  • Emergency contact list (custodial parent and any near-by relatives or family friends)
  • Identification Papers (copy of driver’s license, passport, social security cards, and birth certificates). 

Finally, creating a rainy day fund for you and your child can prove fruitful for a few reasons. First, this can make events such as holidays or vacations easier on your budget, as this money has already been put away. This can also alleviate potential stress between you and the custodial parent in case of an emergency. 

Send Snail Mail

In a world filled with technology for basically everything, it can be easy to forget about snail mail. The rush of excitement that a child gets from getting a care package or a handwritten letter is almost unmatchable. If you’re sending a letter, write down things that you can do together when you see each other next. Or, consider sending a postcard with the start of a joke, and send a follow-up one with the punchline. This small act will keep your child engaged at any age!

Care packages are also a great way to bond with your child. The great thing about these is they are completely customizable to your child’s age, interests, and hobbies. For example:

  • Teenage girl: chocolate, magazines, facial mask, lip gloss 
  • Young boy: candy, stickers, small toys
  • College student: water, energy drink, pens, chips, gum

While care packages shouldn’t be sent all the time, they can be used to make a special occasion that much more exciting. Just know that these tokens do not have to be expensive, they just have to be from the heart. Your kid will be ecstatic when they find they have something from you that’s just for them!

Create Traditions 

One of the most special things you can do with your child is to create tradition. These traditions create warmth and the continued promise of certainty. Traditions also create positive memories for your children, no matter their age, plus they are fun to look forward to!  Some examples of traditions that you and your child could start:

  • Going to a certain restaurant when you see each other
  • Try making some family recipes, perhaps for a holiday
  • Designate a certain night of the week for a game night
  • Choose a community service project for you to do together
  • Plan a yearly vacation

Remember that all traditions do not have to be large or extravagant. Whatever traditions you decide, the critical thing is to stick with them! Most simply put, a tradition is not a tradition if it’s not followed. Your child will be looking forward to this moment with you as a stable moment. Depending on how your relationship is with the custodial parent, you can create new traditions for all of you to do together to reinforce the family aspect, even though you live apart.    

For the Custodial Parent

While most of these tips have been aimed at the parent that does not live with the child, we also need to discuss tips for the parent who does live with the child. Long-distance parenting can bring a whirlwind of emotions, and it’s important for your child to know that you are also there for them too, at any age.  Do not let any negative emotions you have about the non-custodial parent impact your child. In fact, it is beneficial to all parties involved to be as positive as possible when speaking about the co-parent. Do not try to make your child choose sides between the two parents as this will only create tension between all parties, and it will put stress most of all on your child. If long-distance parenting is new to your child, remember to frame it in a way that does not emotionally hurt them. Instead of expressing any ill-will, remind your child when they will be seeing the non-custodial parent, and remind them that they can call them at any time. 

Discussing financial obligations that you need is also something that needs to be done. If there is child support that is owed, it is vital that you and the non-custodial parent not only reach an agreement but stick to it. If there are any additional child financial obligations (like school and sports fees), it is important to determine who is going to pay for these or if these costs will be split. Having these considerations ahead of time will make life easier for everyone.     

How to Encourage Your Kids to Do Household Chores

How to Encourage Your Kids to Do Household Chores

Are your kids defiant when you ask them to help with household chores? At your wit’s end trying to get them to do as you ask?

Parenting is hard, there’s no getting around that. And more so when you’re trying to co-parent. Getting your children to help out with household chores can be a fight, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are key ideas and tactics you can use to help encourage your kids to help with cleaning. 

Connect With Them Emotionally

Three very important first steps revolve around a change in your attitude. Yes, you are exhausted and frustrated, but that’s not going to make your kids want to help clean.

It can be trying at times, but remember that kids are people, too. Their moods are everchanging, just like yours. It is important to lead by example and treat them with kindness, positivity, and good communication. 


Divorce is a very difficult time for anyone going through the situation. It causes many changes in your child’s life. It is extremely important to acknowledge and respect your children’s feelings.

As one of the main people going through the separation, you may find yourself not giving your children the space or guidance they need to get through this tough time. 

By being kind and respecting their moods, you are showing them that their feelings matter. Getting mad and yelling at them isn’t going to help any situation. 


Being positive might seem out of reach, but it is important to be a good role model for your kids. Show them how to get through this time, or this chore, with a positive attitude. 

“We will get through this together!” Don’t dismiss their feelings, in place put a positive spin on it. 

“I know that you are having a hard time with this divorce, and so am I. I am always here for you, and we will carry on together.”

“Doing laundry can be tedious, but we do need clean clothes.”

Your mood will set the tone for your kids. Try to stay as positive as possible to keep up their good attitudes. 


Complete transparency is always best, assuming the child is old enough and emotionally intelligent enough to comprehend what is going on.

Don’t hide information because you think it will make them feel better. They will just be angry that you hid the information.

Also keeping the line of communication open with your co-parent will create a more cohesive co-parenting relationship. Make sure you are on the same page with chores and expect the same things from your children.

This goes for chores, too. Make sure they know exactly what is expected of them, and have a zero-tolerance policy for lying. “If you didn’t finish your chores before bed, just let me know so I can help finish them.”

Get Your Kids to Help With Household Chores

Now that emotionally they are in a good place, you will need to find a way to motivate them. Here are some techniques and ideas you can use to entice your kids to help with household chores.

Make Chores Age-Appropriate

Make sure the household chores you are asking your kids to do are age-appropriate. If they are teens they can do most anything, but expecting your 6-year-old to mow the lawn probably isn’t going to go over well. 

By age 10 they can probably help clean the bathroom and do the dishes. A 4-year-old can sort silverware and help put that away. 

Start Them Young

Start cleaning with kids when they’re a toddler. Toddlers love to help. They can start by helping you with small tasks. 

2-3-year olds love putting things in other things! They can help clean the toy area by putting all the blocks in a bin. They also love throwing things in the garbage. They are little helpers in training, get them used to helping out early in life. 

Help Them With Their Chores

Getting started is the hardest part. When they don’t know where to start, give them a hand and a direction. When you start cleaning with your kids, they will be more likely to finish it themselves.

You can also teach them the proper way to load the dishwasher, fold their clothes, or organize their room. They will recognize the work that you put into keeping the house clean. 

Teens often won’t admit to not knowing something. You might have to trial-and-error certain tasks if they won’t accept help. But beginning to help is a success of its own.

Make It a Contest

Kid’s love competition, even if the award is only bragging rights! “Who can clean their bedroom the fastest?” “The first person to put their laundry away gets to pick what’s for dinner!”

The younger the kids are, the better this will work. A teenager isn’t going to fall for this one. But they might be motivated by a prize such as picking what movie for family movie night or being able to have a friend over. 

Dance Party

Dancing while cleaning will make it a lot more fun. Blasting music and singing at the top of your lungs can make folding laundry a little more enjoyable.

Try this playlist for younger kids! Or if your children are older, they can pick their own music!

Assigned Chore Chart

Knowing what to expect and when to expect it could be key. Having certain jobs done on specific days can create a sense of routine that kids can depend on. Kids thrive on routine. 

It also lets them visualize what needs to be done. A to-do list that things can be crossed off of is very satisfying. 

Give Them a Time Limit

Giving your child a 10-30 minute timer for chores will encourage them to complete their tasks faster. This gives the kids an ending time. Chores are not indefinite, they will end very soon.

“For the next 15 minutes, we are going to clean this house. Let’s see how much we can get done!” Or the 20 minutes before bedtime are reserved for cleaning their bedroom.

Give Them a Choice

Kids might be more inclined to do chores if they’re the ones who pick what they do. Create a chore list for them to choose from.

You might have one child who doesn’t mind washing the dishes every day and one who despises it. If everyone chooses their own task they’re more likely to actually do it. 

Everyone Does Chores at the Same Time

Have your children complete their chores at the same time. Additionally, you can be doing your cleaning routine during this time, too.

If one of your kids is vacuuming, and the other kid is having a snack at that moment, they will be jealous and in return be frustrated. Kids tend to want everything to be fair, which we know is unattainable. But keeping things feeling somewhat equal is something you can do for them. 

When everyone is working together for the same outcome – a clean house – the teamwork aspect will keep your kids motivated.

Don’t Micromanage 

Commonly, parents have a right way and a wrong way of doing something. When you ask your children to complete a chore, don’t micromanage.

Let them complete it the way they want to. Even if that means that sweeping the floor will take half an hour rather than the five minutes it should.

It might frustrate you, but it’s important they learn how to complete it themselves. They might ask you for help, which is fine, but otherwise, let them handle it.

They might surprise you and have a better way of doing something than you do! 

Pay Them

Money talks! As a last resort, you can pay your kids to help out. Figure out a reasonable rate to pay your children to help clean. $1 per year of life, maybe per task… whatever you feel is a good number!

Some experts advise against paying kids for chores, but one benefit is that it can also help teach money management. 

This might not be a route you want to go with, but you could always adjust it to provide incentives. The child could earn something they want, extra screen time, or something along those lines.

Natural Consequences

When they don’t complete their chores, let them experience natural consequences. If they don’t clean their room, they’re not going to have any clean clothes to wear. Next time, maybe they will foresee the consequences and clean their room.

Sometimes it can be hard to watch your children deal with natural consequences. As long as they aren’t in danger in any way, then let it happen. Especially teens need to learn why they need to do chores and what happens if they don’t do them.

Don’t Make Chores a Punishment

When you make doing chores a form of punishment, your children might see doing them as a negative thing. Have chores be routine, punishment is separate.

Make chores positive. They’re helping out around the house. We all live here and need to contribute.

Thank Them!

A little thank you goes a long way! When kids feel appreciated they will want to help more. 

Think about how you feel when no one appreciates what you do! An added bonus is that when you start thanking them for their help, they will most likely start thanking you. Your children will start to see what you do for them every day and acknowledge it.

This will also help teach manners to younger children. The more you use a word, the more they will. If you say thank you every time they throw something away for you, then they will learn to say thank you every time you throw something away for them.

Sprinkle in Fun Chores

Have one of their chores be something fun, like planning a family outing, decorating the kitchen for taco night, or coming to the grocery store with you and being able to help pick out snacks for the week.

Chores for kids don’t need to be hard, gross, or boring. Add some fun and exciting things to their lists. Normalize chores being tasks to help keep the household going rather than just boring cleaning that no one wants to do. 

Realistic Expectations

Expecting any child to do a bunch of chores is unrealistic. Keep their to-do lists around 2-5 tasks depending on age and how long it takes to complete them.

If your teen has sports after school, it is likely that they are going to be exhausted. Don’t request that they have hours or chores along with any homework they might have to do. After their long day, their only chore should be to shower and go to bed. 

Being a kid can be hard. Especially when you are going through a lot of changes. Allow a little leniency at times, and give them time to be a kid.

Parenting Is Hard 

Motivating your children to help with chores can be quite difficult. It takes a lot of patience and communication. 

Household chores are only a small part of this transition. Divorce is hard, and we can help. 2houses offers various resources to improve communication and make co-parenting easier.

We are here to assist you with all of your parenting needs. Our blog has more helpful pointers to help guide you through this difficult time. 

2houses has many resources you can to make sure your co-parent and you are on the same page. You can coordinate calendars, share important information about your children’s medical and school, and much more!

Check out what we offer and start your 14-day trial today!

How to Plan for a Potential Divorce During Pandemic Times

How to Plan for a Potential Divorce During Pandemic Times

Every year in the United States, more than 700,000 couples get divorced. So if you’re considering this option, you are not alone! But divorce is never easy, no matter your circumstances.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on people’s marriages. On top of this, it has also made planning a divorce more challenging. With everyone under one roof knowing how to move forward is no easy feat. 

Thankfully, there are lots of things that you can do to make getting a divorce during the coronavirus pandemic as smooth as possible. The key to this is planning

Read on to find out my top tips on how to place a divorce during COVID-19.

Consider Your Divorce Options

Once you start to plan a divorce you’ll quickly realize there are loads of different routes you can take. Getting your head around each of these will make it easier to figure out the right one for you. 

Pro Se divorces involve the two parties agreeing on a divorce settlement themselves, without the help of lawyers or mediators. You then file the paperwork on your own.

Mediation involves a neutral third party, which helps guide settlement discussions. You can use a mediator even if you don’t have a divorce lawyer.

Collaborative Process divorce proceedings involve specially trained collaborative teams. These teams consist of: 

  • Both spouses
  • A neutral financial advisor
  • A counselor
  • A child specialist (if you have a child)

Together this team reaches a settlement. When entering the collaborative process, all parties agree not to litigate the settlement. 

Attorney-to-Attorney divorce is the most traditional approach to divorce. In this case, each spouse hires an attorney to represent them in settlement discussions. This minimizes communication between the two spouses.

Litigation is often the final option and happens when a settlement cannot be reached. When this happens a judge will review your case and make a final settlement decision. 

There is no absolute “right way” to get a divorce. It is important for you to find what works for you and will be the most straightforward.

Pro Se and Collaborate Process divorces are great if you and your ex find communicating easy. But if one or both of you is hurting, involving a mediator or an attorney can make things easier.

Communicate as Clearly as Possible

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, it is a good idea to communicate this clearly. This can be very difficult and may require several conversations.

It is important to be sensitive to what both spouses need during these conversations. Wanting to protect your ex-spouse is all well and good. But it is also important to look after yourself.

For example, if conversations start spiraling it might be worth getting some space or bringing a mediator in. This will help to keep the conversations clear and productive rather than frustrating and hurtful.

You will both feel a range of emotions after a separation. However, keeping divorce conversations as practical as possible will help things run smoothly.

If you have children, they may also have questions about your divorce. Letting them know what is going on will make them feel more secure in the whole process. For example, you may want to sit them down and explain where you will be living.

For your children’s sake, it is important to stay as neutral as possible during these conversations. Accusations, tension, or conflict can leave children feeling as if they have to pick which parent to side with. So try to agree on a party-line with your spouse beforehand.

Review Your Living Situation

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of divorce during COVID-19 is your living situation. Most people will be under the same roof as their spouse and moving is more difficult than normal. 

However, it is still a good idea to think carefully about your living situation. Living with someone that you are divorcing can be very stressful. It can also make negotiating the boundaries in your new relationship difficult. 

This can be hurtful for both parties and for anyone else living with you. Divorce can be a confusing time for children but keeping things simple really helps. 

If one of you does decide to move out of the family home, it is a good idea to stay nearby. This can make it easier to reach divorce meetings. If you have kids, it also making co-parenting a lot easier.

There are several options to consider when moving out of the family home, such as:

  • Renting a new place
  • Staying with a friend or family member
  • Staying in a hotel
  • Buying somewhere new

Renting or stay with a friend are generally the most popular choices. These provide more stability for the person who has moved out. Once the divorce has been settled, it is much easier to think about buying somewhere new.

Get support from Professionals

As we’ve already mentioned, you don’t have to get help from professionals during a divorce. But if you want to, it’s a good idea to have a few options lined up. 

There are more than 62,000 family law companies operating across the United States. So you’ve got plenty of choices to pick from!

When choosing an attorney, mediator, or counselor for your divorce, it’s a good idea to look at their testimonials. This will help you find someone to suit you and your personal situation. It is also a good idea to discuss issues that you feel could become a problem and see how they respond to these.

Get Your Financial Paperwork in Place

Dividing your finances is a huge part of the divorce process. You can save yourself time (and lawyers’ fees!) by getting your financial paperwork together as soon as possible.

This should cover information on your income and assets, as well as your bank account information. Your financial paperwork can include things like: 

  • Payslips
  • Bank statements (for personal and business accounts) 
  • Tax returns 
  • Investment funds
  • Retirement or pension accounts
  • Real estate investments 
  • Business interests 

If you have any liabilities you should include these too. These include: 

  • Student loans 
  • Mortgages
  • Car loans 
  • Credit card debt
  • Business debt

It is a good idea to collect this into one, secure online location. Then you can use secure-sharing portals to give your lawyer access to these. This means you can avoid meeting in person altogether.

Create a Budget for the Divorce Proceedings

Planning ahead can make going through a divorce as stress-free as possible. And creating a budget can really help. This means that you won’t have to worry about your financial stability during divorce proceedings. 

Your budget should include any divorce-related costs. For example, you should budget your lawyers’ or mediator’s fees. 

However, it’s also worth thinking about the practical costs of divorce as well. For example, let’s say that you decide to move out of your marital home and rent an apartment. In that case, you will need to have enough money saved to cover your rental costs. 

If you have children with your partner, you may have to continue paying child support before you reach a settlement. So it’s worth considering that you will have to contribute to two household’s food budgets. 

This can feel like a lot to handle. But minimizing financial pressure during this time will help you to keep focused. So you will still be able to make sound decisions about the direction of your divorce.

Put a Parenting Plan in Place

Getting divorced when you have children can be a tough decision but it is also extremely brave.

If your marriage isn’t working, it is also the right decision in the long run. In fact, growing up around a dysfunctional relationship can be very damaging for children. So often divorce is the best course of action for your children’s happiness.

50% of children in America will see their parents’ divorce, so your kids will be in good company!

However, creating stability for your children during a divorce is vital. This helps them to understand what is going on and creates security at a time of uncertainty. So it is important you have a parenting plan in place before you tell them. 

This should outline who will have custody of your children during and after your divorce. It should also discuss how often your children are going to see each parent. 

Other practical considerations to discuss include: 

  • Division of home-schooling responsibilities
  • Travel responsibilities 
  • How much warning should be given for a change for plans (for example 48 hours) 
  • Financial support if the children are going to live in one home more

Deciding these in advance will help you to co-parent as smoothly as possible.

Take Care of Your Own Mental Health

No couple goes into a marriage planning their divorce. So, when this happens, there will often be a period of adjustment. 

As well as planning practically you should also take good care of your mental health. This will help you to make informed decisions about your divorce. It will also help you be a present parent if you are looking after your children while divorcing. 

It is a good idea to reach out to friends or family members about what you are going through. That way they can check in on you, give you space to vent, or offer practical support.

Taking time out for yourself is also incredibly important. Here are some great ideas for relieving stress:

  • Taking a long bath
  • Turning your phone off few a phone hours
  • Going for a walk in nature
  • Exercising
  • Meditation
  • Phoning a friend or family member for a catch-up
  • Reading a book

It is also important that you look after yourself physically. Eating properly, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly will all support your overall mental health.

Assess the Logistics of Your Situation

There is one big difference when it comes to getting divorced during coronavirus. Unlike in ‘normal’ times, most of your meetings will take place via video or phone calls.

This means you may spend long periods on the phone with your lawyers. It also means that you have to handle all of your divorce proceedings from home.

There are benefits to this. For example, you may find your lawyer has more availability for over-the-phone meetings. This means that your divorce proceedings are handled quickly.

However, you or your spouse may decide that it would be better to have in-person meetings. For example, meeting in person can be easier if you are going through a collaborative-process divorce. 

In that case, it may be worth considering your options.

If you want to have meetings in-person, you may want to consider separating for the foreseeable future. If both of you are more comfortable with this arrangement, for the time being, this can be a good option. Then, once things become more normal, you can resume the process.

The most important thing is finding something that works for both parties. This is the best way to keep conflict at a minimum.

Get Help with Planning a Divorce Now

Planning a divorce can feel like an overwhelming task, especially during a global pandemic!

This is why it is important to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to consider your options. There are also lots of places you can turn to for support during a divorce.

Thanks to technology, coordinating schedules with your ex-partner is now easier than ever. To find out more about how 2House apps can make this transition smoother for you, check them out now.

How To Rebuild Your Confidence After Divorce

How To Rebuild Your Confidence After Divorce

It’s common for people to fall into depression and anxiety or turn to substance abuse after a divorce. When a marriage ends, there are overwhelming feelings of failure, shame, and sometimes even guilt.

Of course, all of this gives your self-esteem and confidence a huge knock. You may be finding it difficult to think positively about yourself, your body image may be struggling and your confidence lacking. 

Have you lost your confidence after divorce?

While this is completely natural after a divorce, it’s important to take steps to reclaim your identity and boost your self-esteem. 

There are ways to get back on track. Keep reading for tips on how to regain your confidence after a divorce and take back your life. 

Regaining Confidence After Divorce Starts With Accepting the Past 

Going through a divorce in many ways mimics the process of grief. And why wouldn’t it? You have lost an essential part of your life, and it may feel like you’ve lost a part of your identity, too.

It’s easy to get stuck in toxic cycles of picking apart the past to figure out where it went wrong. This leads to negative self-criticism, a cycle of blame, and feelings of guilt. One of the most important post-divorce tips to rebuild confidence is to accept what has happened, and accept that you cannot change it. 

Equally important is realizing that obsessing over questions you cannot answer is damaging to your self-esteem. You cannot change the past, but you can learn from it and change yourself in a positive way. This should be your focus after a divorce. 

Of course, this is easier said than done. Start by focusing on what you can change. Redirect your attention from analyzing the past to improving your present and building a new future. The key to improving your self-esteem starts by accepting where you are right now and working towards where you want to be.

Move Away from the Blame Game

When a relationship ends it’s common to get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of blame — this is something you should avoid. No one wants to take responsibility for the part that they played in their marriage ending. This is a sort of denial that you experience as a reflexive mechanism to deal with the trauma. 

However, it doesn’t serve you or your confidence to shift blame onto your ex-spouse or others around you. An important part of reclaiming your confidence is taking ownership of your mistakes. No one is free from fault when a marriage breaks down. Facing your mistakes with courage will empower you to step out of your self-pity and into a new life with grace. 

Furthermore, accepting that you have aided in creating your own path comes with the knowledge that you are in control of where your life goes from there. 

While it may be true that someone had a great influence on the negative situation you find yourself in, you are ultimately the agent of your life. Recognize the choices you’ve made so that you can empower yourself with the courage to make better choices now.

Rebuild Self-Esteem by Celebrating the Positives 

You may be finding it difficult to identify any positives in your life right now. This includes situational positives as well as positive traits within yourself. It’s essential to find a way to celebrate the positives to rebuild confidence after divorce. 

To begin with, move away from negative self-talk and start practicing positive self-talk. It may feel superficial, and like a pretense, in the beginning, but continue with it regardless. 

Start with writing down things that lift you up in your life. What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? What are the positive forces in your life?

If you’re struggling to find sources of positivity in your present, look to memories and experiences in your past. Identify moments where you’ve been happy and times of your life that you’ve felt good about yourself. 

As a result of writing these things down, you’ll be cementing uplifting thought patterns and creating a roadmap for improving your self-esteem. 

Furthermore, make an effort to verbally affirm your positive traits. If you find it a challenge, start small. Say, or write down, one thing you like about yourself, or one thing people like about you. Build on these every day as you become the person you want to be.

Turn to Your Support System 

After a divorce, it’s common to feel isolated and lonely. You may feel ashamed or as if you’ve failed and this may prevent you from seeking support from your friends and family. It’s important to remember that divorce does not equal failure and there are people who love you and want what’s best for you. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your loved ones and lean on your support system. Being around people that lift you up and make you feel good about yourself does wonders for your confidence. 

Aside from helping you to feel better about yourself, friends who are removed from the situation can offer an objective perspective. This may help to provide you with some clarity and positive perspective change. 

Take this opportunity to connect with old friends, spend valuable time with loved ones, and join group events. Finding solace in friendship provides you a space to feel loved and fulfilled outside of a marriage or romantic relationship. 

In addition, reach out to people who’ve been in similar situations. Or, talk to like-minded people. Seeking validity and support is a huge benefit to your confidence.

By doing this, you’ll remember what makes you a great friend and person, it will highlight your positive traits and ultimately help to rebuild confidence.

Rebuild Confidence by Trying New Things: Reinvent and Empower Yourself

To rebuild confidence you need to rediscover your post-divorce freedom. This is the time to figure out who you are separate from your spouse or any other romantic partner. 

If you’re still partaking in activities and daily habits that you used to do with your spouse, these constant reminders are probably getting you down. Begin with phasing out things that used to be ‘couple activities’ and marriage routines. 

By doing this, you’re freeing up personal time and shedding baggage that lowers your self-esteem. Now you can consider trying new things, incorporating new hobbies into your life, or focusing on your social life. 

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but have never got around to? This is the time to start! Perhaps you’ve always been interested in painting or curious about dancing — join a class. Maybe you’ve thought about sprucing up your garden or have always wanted to learn a language — throw yourself into new things. 

By choosing to reinvent and empower yourself by trying new things, you’ll boost your confidence. As you begin to learn, test your capabilities and skills or simply find something you love doing your self-esteem benefits.

Sign up for classes, do that tutorial, pick up that book, volunteer at that place. Move beyond who you think you are towards who you want to be. Reclaim your freedom and reinvent your individual identity to rebuild self-esteem.

Decide Who You Want to Be and Live Like That Person

Sometimes boosting your confidence is as simple as acting the way you want to feel. Living with intention is a powerful tool to change your life in a positive way. If you hope to be happier, choose to be happy — smile at strangers, sing along to your favorite song. 

If your goal is to be someone who is more active, then get moving. It may feel disingenuous at first, but creating strong habits is the first step. Living with intention is the next step. 

By choosing to behave in a positive way, you create a positive environment and life for yourself. 

Furthermore, set yourself challenges and goals. These start small with challenges such as ‘smile at three strangers today.’ As you begin to feel better about yourself, set yourself greater challenges and positive goals.

Accomplishing the challenges that you’ve set for yourself will make you feel good and boost your self-esteem.

Find Coping Mechanisms to Turn to When it Gets Overwhelming 

There are times when anxiety and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness will become overwhelming. This is natural and normal and it’s important that you allow yourself the space to grieve. Feeling pain, disappointment, and sadness when a marriage ends is healthy and common emotions after a separation. 

That being said, you want to avoid sinking into pits of despair that you cannot get out of. When you’re working to build your confidence you don’t want to take two steps backward whenever you feel overwhelmed with negative emotions. 

Therefore it’s important to create coping mechanisms that you can turn to in your darkest hours of insecurity. This could be something as simple as a positive-affirming mantra that you repeat to yourself. It may be phoning a friend or meditating. 

A calming coping mechanism is different for everyone. Explore activities or habits which make you feel good and turn to these when a wave of emotion threatens to knock you down. 

Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Life

There are a few major advantages of exercise when it comes to boosting self-esteem and regaining confidence after divorce. Incorporating exercise into your life isn’t about throwing yourself into crazy workout programs to attain the ‘perfect body.’ It can be as simple as taking a daily walk. 

Research has shown time and time again the positive effects of exercise on mental health. Exercise improves physical health, boosts endorphins, improves your mood, and helps to relieve stress. These are all things you need after a divorce. 

Furthermore, feeling your physical body become stronger and more capable is guaranteed to improve your self-confidence and body image. 

Another benefit of exercise is the social aspect. You may choose to go walking with a friend, join a running group or take part in yoga retreats. This is an excellent way to create new connections and expand your support network — ultimately boosting your confidence. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Professional Help 

This is the most crucial of post-divorce tips. If you find that your self-esteem isn’t improving, that you’re slipping into depression, or that you’re feeling stuck in despair, you should seek professional help. 

Sometimes you can do everything right and still struggle. There is no shame in seeking out the help of a therapist — it’s a courageous decision that you will come to admire about yourself. 

Mental health professionals can equip you with tools to improve your self-esteem and strengthen your mental health. They can guide you through cognitive behavioral therapy. This focuses on changing your perceptions about yourself and the world around you. 

Furthermore, a psychologist is an objective point of support who can help you to see things differently and can highlight your strengths and abilities. There are many good reasons to go to therapy, the first step is just about deciding to do it. 

Believe in Yourself and Never Give Up

Choosing to believe in yourself and persevere in the face of struggle may sound like a pre-football game speech. Bu,t that is what it’s going to take to come out of your divorce stronger than ever.

Regaining confidence after divorce is no simple feat, but by investing in yourself and your life you’ll get back your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

If you’re seeking advice, support, or information to help you through your divorce, explore the 2houses blog for all of the resources you need. Or, contact us for more details.

How to Bond With Step-Children in Blended Families

How to Bond With Step-Children in Blended Families

Have you recently gotten remarried, or do you plan to get married to someone with children from a previous marriage? Are you looking to bring your new blended family together?

Well, you’re not alone. In 2018, there were nearly 4 million households with stepchildren just in the United States. And making these new relationships feel real can be difficult.

But, it can be done if you work hard enough. Let’s go through how to bond with your newfound step-children so you can fully enjoy your relationship.

Don’t Overstep Your Boundaries

If your step-children’s other parent is in the future, you want to make sure you’re not encroaching on your territory. You’ll all need to work together to make your children feel comfortable, so you’ll want to keep your relationship with your spouse’s ex-partner as cordial as possible. 

And, at all times, stay as positive as possible when building your relationship with your step-kids. Positivity helps other people feel good about your energy, and it will help all the relationships work better together.

It’s also key not to go overboard with your expectations. Try to be realistic, and don’t expect too much out of your new relationship (especially right away).

Follow the children’s lead when working on your relationship and making plans. That way, they’ll feel like they have control of the situation and they will be less likely to lash out at you for taking control. 

Make Sure You and Your Partner Are on the Same Page

And, you should discuss expectations with your partner and with your stepchildren’s other parent. You don’t want to accidentally overstep their boundaries, either. Ask them what their thoughts on your relationship with their children are, and what they expect of you as an extra parental figure.

Of course, your approach will have to be different depending on the age of the step-children. You’ll need to take a different tack with babies and toddlers versus preschool-age versus school-aged children versus teenaged children, so make sure you consider these factors into your calculation.

Don’t Push Too Hard

While it may be your instinct, it’s important that you don’t push your new stepchildren into situations that may make them uncomfortable.

You also shouldn’t push yourself to feel things you don’t. When you first meet your stepkids, you may not feel connected to them right away. It takes time to feel love and appreciation for kids you aren’t close to. Make slow strides, and don’t stress yourself out about the situation.

You should also make sure that your stepchildren have plenty of one on one time with their primary or biological parent.

While it’s good to create your own relationship, and to spend time together as a big blended family, your stepchildren will also need to be secure in the relationship they have with the parent they already knew.

You don’t want to make the kids feel like you’re encroaching or taking over their territory.

Have your partner schedule one on one time with their children and make yourself scarce for a while. Later on, you can start having your own time with them, but it’s important to take it slow and steady. 

Be Transparent

Be as open and honest as possible when communicating with your new stepchildren. Especially for older children, don’t shy away from hard questions or hide the truth.

Be honest about any concerns you might have, and communicate about your relationship with them. It’s important to be on the same page with them as much as possible. 

You also need to be honest with your partner. Let them know about any insecurities in the relationship you have when them or their children, and any concerns or thoughts you have.

If you have any negative or positive experiences or end up in a confusing situation with one of the children, make sure you let your partner know. They’re your partner for a reason, after all, and as the children’s primary parent it’s important for them to be kept up to date with any problems.

You need to make sure the two of you are on the same page, to keep a steady environment for all of the children in your life.         

Make Your Family Cohesive

If you have your own children or other loved ones important to your life, you should do your best to make sure everyone’s relationships work together.

This can depend on what the custody agreement is with your partner’s ex. If you have joint custody, it will be a different situation if one parent has sole custody.

You can make sure that you don’t miss any major events in your stepchildren’s lives and synchronize schedules and planning with your partner and your stepchildren’s other parents using the different features on the 2houses app.

Co-Parent Successfully

Although it can often be overwhelming, it is important to create and maintain a good co-parent relationship. That will make your stepchildren feel more confident in the arrangement, and make it feel more like a real blended family for everyone involved.

There are plenty of co-parenting tips and tricks out there to help you get started on your co-parenting journey.

And, never, ever bad-talk your step-children’s other parent in front of them. That will just cause resentment and bad feelings between the children and between you and the other parent. Stay positive, and if you don’t have anything nice to say just don’t say anything at all.

Consider Your Children

If you’re bringing your own children in as part of your new blended family, the situation can get even more complicated. But, with the right tools and the right amount of effort, you’ll have a cohesive blended family in no time. 

But, it’s also important to keep it even across the board. Treat your children and your step-children the same from day one. The same punishments, the same privileges, the same curfews, and bedtimes.

You don’t want to give them a reason to resent each other, or to resent you or your partner. So, make sure you treat every child equally to avoid any complications. 

That means you should be supporting your step-children like you would your children, too. Attend their extracurricular activities and other big life events in their life. Help them with their homework, and give them support when they need it.

That way, they’ll feel like you respect them and your relationship as much as you do your biological children.

Have Confidence

No matter what, it’s important to feel strongly about the approach you’re taking. If you think there’s a problem, you should ask questions and really examine what your issue is.

Stay strong, and don’t back down when you’re right. If you look like you stand strong in your beliefs, your stepchildren will be more likely to come around to understanding your point of view.

Be Respectful of Your Step-Children

After a certain age, most kids get unruly and downright rude. That will also be true of your stepchildren. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not important for you to be respectful. You need to set an example, so that your stepchildren will see your behavior and know what’s expected of them.

That will make it easier for you to point to examples of positive and negative reinforcement in your relationship with them, and help them to understand how best to interact with you appropriately. Eventually, the respect you pay to your stepchildren will end up becoming reciprocal. 

Stay away from being judgemental as well. You won’t always know the full context of a situation, and you don’t know everything that happened in your step-children’s lives before you entered the picture.

So, be sure to always keep an open mind and be respectful with your responses to their needs and statements.

Ask For Help

Sometimes, you just need a break and to blow off some steam. Phone a trusted friend to vent any concerns, hurts, and other feelings you might have. Counseling or therapy can also be a super useful tool.

If your entire family is having trouble community, you might want to look into family therapy. If your partner and your stepchildren’s other parent are receptive, therapy can be a great tool to get you all on the same page and to help you feel more secure in your relationships.

It can be difficult reorganizing your nuclear family with biological parents and stepsiblings, so there’s absolutely no shame in asking for help if you need.

Set Plenty of Boundaries

You may feel like you want to let your stepchildren get away with whatever they want, at least at first, but it’s important to set boundaries and limits so they know what to expect.

If you fail to set boundaries now, they’ll be getting away with bad behavior for years in the future. That’s why you should stay strong right off the bat, so everyone will be happier in the long run.

And, make sure you don’t fold. Always stay strong, and stick to your guns, and eventually your boundaries will be the status quo for the family.

Meet Them at Their Level

When getting to know your step-children, it’s important to relate to them in ways that work for them. Talk to them about their interests, the subjects they like in school, and their favorite pieces of pop culture.

Find activities that they enjoy, and you can do together as a family activity. That way, they will actually want to hang out with you and won’t resent you from taking time away from their interests or friends. 

Here are some low-stress activities you can try out with your step-children that they might enjoy:

  • Go to the movies
  • Head to the bowling alley
  • Play board games at home
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Hang out at the beach
  • Play their favorite video games
  • Head to the library for a day of reading
  • Go skating at the ice rink or the roller rink
  • Have a day of culture at a museum, aquarium, or the zoo
  • Go hiking out in the great outdoors
  • Make plans to go to a special event, like a yearly festival or parade
  • Go shopping at the mall or the local shopping district

Of course, you’ll want to base what you choose based on your step-children’s interests. Don’t make a kid who hates exercise go mini golfing, for example!

Incorporate Your Step-Children Into Your Family

You may feel like it’s important just to incorporate your step-children into your nuclear family, but you shouldn’t just stop there. it’s still important for your step-children to feel like part of the extended family, as well.

If your family has big traditions for the holidays or other occasions, make sure that your new step-children are invited and feel like a part of the tradition. That will make your family ties stronger, and make everyone feel more like a real blended family.

You can also start new traditions with your step-children. That can help them feel like you’re making an extra effort to find a way to work them in in a way that suits them, rather than trying to force them in somewhere they don’t fit.

Enjoy Your Step-Children and Your Family

As long as your patient and careful, you’ll form a good relationship with your step-children in no time flat. Just stay calm, take it slow, and be communicative, and your blended family will be perfectly happy and healthy.

Need help organizing and coordinating your blended household? Contact us today for all the tools you need.