Divorce introduces so many unknowns into kids’ lives. Suddenly you and your ex are living in separate homes. You may need to go back to work or increase your hours to make ends meet. And, whatever your specific custodial or visitation schedule is, the kids will be shuttling back and forth between two households. In some cases the family home is sold, or the kids have to change schools. Imagine having to give up your home, school and friends?
In the midst of all of these life changes, it is critical to keep consistency, balance and routine in a child’s life as much as possible. One way parents can do this is to use the same sitter, no matter whose day, week or weekend it is to have the kids.
Here are four key benefits of using one sitter between two households after divorce:
1. Gives your child a sense of security. She won’t have to worry about which day it is and who is picking her up from school. The anxiety kids develop over schedules and not being certain about what is happening next is very real, no matter the age. Having to think about whether it is Monday (Mom’s day) and “Sue” is picking up or Wednesday (Dad’s day) and “Mary” is picking up can cause significant stress in your child’s life. Knowing that one person is in charge when Mom and Dad aren’t around will take this burden off your child and help ease the transition to two households.
2. Helps your child build trust. Let’s face it, divorce can damage a child’s ability to trust. Everything she knew to be stable has been turned upside down. Having one sitter at both homes gives her someone outside the family to put faith and trust in, who understands what she is going through and can be confided in. It also teaches her that even though Mom and Dad aren’t living together, they can still work together to do what is best for her.
3. Lessens confusion. Even with written routines and rules, people do things differently. From snacks to homework help to activities, each sitter will have her own way of managing and interacting with your child. Using one sitter with one set of rules and routine will eliminate the confusion that can come with too many people doing things in different ways.
4. Makes the transition easier for the parents. Using one sitter between two houses will make it easier for both parents to stay up to date on the kids. You won’t be spending time getting information from your ex to make sure you, and your sitter, know a change in pickup time, items needed for a project, or other issues. And if visitation changes last minute – the sitter still knows the routine of both households.
Word of caution! As tempting as it may be (and we know just how tempting) do not use the sitter as your spy! The sitter is not there to tell you if your ex’s house is messy or a woman (new girlfriend?) called. The sitter is there as a reliable, consistent caregiver for your child, period. It may take commitment and cooperation on both sides to make this work, but with a little adjustment, using one sitter can make the transition after divorce so much easier for your child, and you.
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This article is sponsored by Sittercity