Keeping your children safe, happy and healthy during separation is a priority. It is a traumatic time both for the parents and any children and it is important to consider what can be done to make the time less stressful.
Generally, upon separation, one parent leaves the family home. The children may spend some time with the parent who has moved and this may include overnight time. Sometimes the children will remain in the family home and the parents will take turns living in the family home, perhaps on a weekly basis. In some situations, children will be separated from their siblings. The new living arrangements, in addition to the stress caused by the conflict between parents, is very unsettling for the children. This can have an effect upon behaviour and school work.
It is important to let the school your children attend know of the change in the family situation. The school can then provide support to your children and the teachers can let you know if they notice any behavioural problems or affect upon their school work. Many schools have counsellors who can help your children if needed. Separation is very distressing for children. They may withdraw or become aggressive and this can affect their relationships with other children. It is helpful if teachers are aware of the breakdown of your relationship in order that they may deal with the issues arising in a sensitive and compassionate manner.
Remember separation is not uncommon and there will be many separated families within the school community. Inform the school of the new care arrangements for the children and let them know if there will be any changes as to who will be collecting them from school. If the children are spending time in two homes, make sure the school has both sets of contact numbers. Clarify whether communications from the school will be sent to one parent who will relay to the other or whether communications are to be sent to both parents separately. Ask the school to let you know if any changes in your children’s behaviour is noticed or any effect on their schoolwork.
Separation is a very private matter but it is important to let the school know. The information should be dealt with in a confidential and sensitive manner and will hopefully relieve the stress experienced by your children.