Remaining in Contact with Your Kids as a Single Dad

Remaining in Contact with Your Kids as a Single Dad

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  1. If you’re a divorcing father, odds are that you don’t have custody of your children. At most, you may only see them once or twice a week (if that). While their absence may be hard for you, it’s even harder for them. Your kids will grieve the loss of your daily presence in their lives for at least a year after your separation.

    Following are a few simple ways to maximize time and contact with your kids, and ensure them that you’re still a stable, available presence in their lives.

    Be Present

    It’s tempting when you’re a busy parent to let the television and the computer act as a babysitter. As a single dad, it’s crucial you not fall into that trap. The best way to maintain your bond with your kids is to be present when they’re present. In other words, when they’re with you, don’t spend all of your time on your computer or visiting with friends, leaving them to their own devices. Plan family activities – eating out, trips to the park or the zoo, board and card games – that bring all of you together for hours at a time.

    Unfortunately, this can become complicated if you work from home, or your work insists you remain "available" outside of core hours. In those situations, let your kids know before they arrive when and for how long you’ll have to work. When work is done for the day, turn off the computer and turn your attention back to them.

    Be Available When They’re Not Around

    Just because your kids aren’t with you doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them. If your kids are old enough to use the computer, make sure they have your e-mail address so they can reach you electronically. Respond to any and all messages promptly. Be sure they know your phone number, and let your ex know that your children are free to call whenever they need you.

    Of course, communication is a two-way street. Consider calling your kids every night (or at least every other night) when they’re not with you. Ask them about their days, tell them you love them, and wish them a good night. Prolonged periods of separation may lead your children to believe that you’re not thinking about them when they’re not around. A nightly or every-other-nightly call goes a long way toward ensuring them that they are always on your mind.

    Make Your Place Their Place

    Even if your kids don’t live with you full time, you should emphasize that your home is their home, too. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, make sure that you refer to your dwelling not just as "your place," but as "our place." Set aside rooms for them, and decorate them just like you’d decorate their rooms if you and your ex were still living together – with furniture, books, posters and toys that you know your kids will love.

    Cushioning The Blow

    When you don’t have much time with your kids, it’s important to maximize what time you do have. By being fully present, available on demand, and making your home theirs, you’ll help cushion the blow of divorce, and reassure them that you still treasure the role they place in your life.

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