More than one million children in the U.S. are affected by divorce or separation each year.
A recent report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) addresses the ways in which a child’s pediatrician can help them through difficult transitions.
Talking Through It
According to Skyler Kalady, M.D., a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, divorce and separation can impact children of all ages
“When parents are going through difficult times, children perceive that, regardless of their age,” says Kalady. “So while kids may express their stresses in different ways at different ages, it’s important for parents to be as open and honest as possible, even with difficult situations.”
She says keeping an open line of communication with children is essential, but that it’s important to keep the conversation age-appropriate.
School aged children might ask questions about when the other parent is coming back, which Kalady says is appropriate for their age.
She stresses that families should not be afraid to talk about divorce openly with their child’s pediatrician. Likewise, pediatricians should always ask kids questions about any changes that they might be going through to help them navigate difficult times.
Kalady says it’s important to remember that consistency and routines are very comforting to children.
“As simple as the same school, the same after-care program, the same activities; of course, if they’re changing households that’s not always possible, but to the extent that they can keep some things consistent, that usually helps children feel safe and know what to expect,” she says.
Pay Attention to Behavior
When children deal with stresses, Kalady says they often internalize their concerns and can display them in many different ways.
Divorce doesn’t impact every child the same and just because a child did not have any issues at the time of the separation, it doesn’t mean that it won’t impact them later down the road....
Recently, we went from having one to TWO crazy boys running around the house. Suddenly, I became the lone female surrounded by males. Boys who are constantly talking super heroes, arguing over books, or wanting to chase each other and wrestle. It is so fun to watch (most of the time), but sometimes is can be overwhelming. For my own sanity, I have found it has become increasingly important for me to find ways, even little ones, to get some “me time”. I’m not talking just kid-free time. I’m talking time totally alone. Dave and I have both committed to allowing each other some time totally alone. Don’t get me wrong, we still find time for each other. However with the chaos that is life, sometimes you just need some time to yourself to decompress and refocus. Here are some ways that I carve that time our for myself.
1. Long trips to the grocery store
“Sure honey! I can run to the grocery store!” *wink* If you are able to block out the hustle and bustle of the grocery, it can be nice to get some time by yourself at the grocery store. I like to take my time walking up and down each aisle…sometimes even twice!
2. Setting up my planner each week
I started using a Happy Planner several weeks ago, and I have become addicted. Each Sunday, I set aside some time to sit alone with my washi tape and stickers, and I get my week planned out. I look at meals, what I have going on at work, bills that are due, and everything else going on. Then I make it look pretty! It may seem silly, but it amazingly soothing! I look forward to it every week.
3. Food prepping
Food prepping itself is not a relaxing activity, however when I am doing it, the kitchen is a kid and husband-free zone!...