Consistency is a parenting basic. All kids need boundaries and rules; they make them feel safe and confident in how the world around them works. Consistency also helps kids in divorced families adjust to all the changes. Plus, it sends a message that Mom and Dad are on the same page even though they're not together -- and that they both care equally. "Don't have too many differences between houses," says Dasher. "So you have to have a high level of communication with your ex." Together, you and your ex should establish rules from the get-go. Is dinner in front of the TV acceptable at times, but is skipping homework non-negotiable?
Then, decide on a plan for your kids' schedule at both homes -- this includes nap times, video game playing, bedtime routines, dinner rituals, TV watching, and even foods your child enjoys. "The more predicable the events are, the easier it will be for your kid to accept," says Garber.
Sure, it might be difficult to come to a consensus, but make an effort to make it work. "You have to be flexible," says Dasher. When differences come up, "make your feelings known and say, 'I don't have the right to impose my will in your house, but I feel strongly about this.'"
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