How to make the child feel at home
It’s often the case that our homes become smaller when we move apart, but the most important thing for children is that they feel at home and welcome. Regardless of whether the separation is happening right now or if it’s been some time, a feeling of “home” makes it easier for children to land even during a separation. Here you can learn more about what you can do to create a home where your child feels comfortable and can relax.
A summary of this article below.
A new residence
In addition to supporting your child emotionally, it is also nice to involve them in the moving process itself. Looking at apartments or houses together with children helps them prepare and be involved. However, children have difficulty understanding that their own furniture and belongings can go to another home. Where adults see opportunities to renovate and furnish, children often see a home that is fixed and finished.
Children therefore need explanations and guidance on what it will be like when the new home is your own home. If you feel sad about moving and the new home feels not ready enough, you can instead wait to introduce the child to the new home until you have become accustomed and had time to prepare.
Show your child that you are thinking of their presence in the home
Children notice when you’ve thought of them. It might be that you’ve laid out their pillow on the bed. Or placed the table mat at their spot at the table. You’ve brought home their favorite breakfast. A special teddy bear, a box of toys and their own chair at the dinner table all help create a sense of home for young children. Maybe the child has a favorite stuffed animal or toy that always stays with one parent and that they get to say hello to every time they visit.
It can also be nice for everything to stay the same when the child comes back. Perhaps your child needs to share a room with you or a sibling – and up to the teenage years it can be positive and cozy. Most children in Sweden actually sleep with their parents at least sometimes or part of the night all the way up to school age. If the child is bothered by not being able to be left alone when it is time to sleep, you can arrange privacy with curtains, a shelf or a screen.
Homely atmosphere do not require own bed nor own room. It can also generate from your own small nook or a cubby only for the child to be allowed to open.Malin Bergström, child psychologist and researcher
When you have less space
When we have less space, we need to furnish according to how we actually use the home rather than how it should be. It is common for everyone to gather in one place and for some rooms to be empty, no matter how cramped you live. If siblings are going to start sharing a room, you can set up an extra play area in the living room so that one child can have the room to themselves with their friends and the other can play in the living room.
Involve your children in decorating your home
Make the children involved in the decoration and use of the different rooms and areas. What do they think is cozy and nice? Maybe you put a little extra effort on their rooms or areas to make the move more positive. For older children and teenagers, it can be tough not to be able to close a door. Especially if you have to share a room with siblings or step-siblings that you don’t feel comfortable with. Then it is important to try to arrange a private and individual area. Maybe you split the room with bookcases, a curtain, a screen or put up a wall. If it is loud, buy a pair of really good headphones.
Pay attention to differences in all children’s living arrangements
It is especially important that your child who might be living more with your coparent are as welcome and feel at home as a child that is living full time with you.
Try to understand the teenager who expresses negativity of your new home
For teenagers, moving to a smaller home can feel like a loss of prestige. Material things can play a big role for someone who is in the process of developing their own identity. Such an attitude can provoke, especially if you have not chosen to move yourself. To get away from this feeling, it is important to understand what the feeling of loss of prestige is all about. Is the child ashamed in front of others or is it the feeling of loss that weighs them down? Sharing the feelings with each other can make them easier to handle.
- A cozy home where you are a natural part makes it easier for many children to “land” and get into the rhythm of the home.
- Think about the best way to introduce a new home to your child. Perhaps when you’re looking for a new one or when you’ve managed to decorate and make it nice.
- Doing small things like making sure the nice table mat is out when your child comes home, or that their favorite stuffed animal is waiting for them in the hall, can mean a lot to your child.
- Think about how you use your home and dare to try new solutions.
- Take notice of the differences in the children’s living situation and see if you need to adjust something so that everyone can be happy.
- Try to understand why a child reacts negatively to the home, even if it is tough for you to hear.