Divorce and separation are difficult times in a family, especially for children. Worries about parents, what the future will bring, all compounded with the stress of going to school and coming into their own can create a perfect storm for kids to lash out and stop cooperating. One of the best ways to counteract the potential negatives of separation is by creating a daily and weekly routine that the kids and you are a part of. Men only child support is difficult, but is also very rewarding. Use these steps to help create a sense of peace and family cohesion with a routine.
Good routines start with good planning. The three most important parts of the day to plan out are morning time, dinner time, and bed time.
The morning time will go as smoothly as you plan for it to. Begin the night before by putting out clothes for the next day, packing lunches, and planning breakfast. Your children should wake up at the same time each morning to help establish a good morning routine. Once your children are awake, inform them of their morning’s tasks and give rewards each step of the way as they complete them. If they brush their teeth and hair, allow them to choose the dessert for lunch. If they eat breakfast without fussing or being told, they get to the ride in the front seat to school. Make it fun and keep it regular; this positive reinforcement encourages good behavior.
After you pick your kids up from school, allow some time when you get home to relax and unwind from the day. Let them play outside, go to friends' house, or even watch a little TV. Once they have unwound a bit, or if you are just getting up from work, begin the routine of dinner time.
Dinner does not have to be difficult but oftentimes men only try to complicate it. The support a child receives is vital; allow dinner time to be a beneficial way for you to connect with your children and talk to them about any problems they are having in school or personally. Have a couple of recipes on standby that you can easily plan for that don't require a lot of intensive cooking that could take away from talking with your kids. Baked ziti is a wonderful example.
- Boil noodles in a pot and drain
- Brown ground beef in a separate pan
- Then pour tomato sauce on the ground beef
- In a 9x13 dish, mix the beef and noodles. Add some ricotta cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 375’.
During dinner begin the transition to bed time. Even though bed time may still be a few hours away, start asking about homework, showers, and any last minute needs that the kids have for tomorrow. After dinner is when you will work behind the scenes to keep the show running smoothly the rest of the night and into the morning. While you're still in the kitchen, make lunches for the next day and stash them in the fridge for the morning routine.
Bed time should be at a regular time every night, and should follow a series of events. This series of events will train your children's bodies to get ready for sleep, and help them fall asleep once in bed.
While your kids are changing into their pajamas, take the time with them to pick out the outfit for the morning, this will help during the morning routine as well as give your kids a hint about the routine for the next day. With the help of the routine, your kids should be ready to fall asleep easily after a quick story or song.
The key to setting a good routine is consistency. Plan out the routine and walk through it a couple times before settling on times and activities. Once you start the routine, stick with it. If something comes up and causes you to get off track, begin as soon as possible on the next part of the routine. Child support with men only doesn't have to be difficult or stressful as long as you plan and create a routine. In practice the routine will become second nature which will help lower stress levels and help create a happy new home life.