When a family undergoes the painful process of a divorce or separation, communication can completely break down. The thought of catching up with your child’s caregiver can be last priority when you’re struggling to maintain some kind of relationship with your spouse.
Nevertheless, take the time. Make your caregiver your strongest ally – not in any kind of divorce battle, but in the fight to keep your family and your child happy and healthy – despite an uncertain future.
Dos and Don’ts:
Do provide your caregiver with a verbal outline of the changes that your family is going through and share logistical information, such as when you or your spouse will be spending time with your child.
Don’t over share, become excessively emotional, or say unkind things about your spouse. Putting your caregiver in a difficult or uncomfortable situation will not help to make her your ally.
Do ask your caregiver to closely monitor your children’s behavior. Make it clear that your babysitter is welcome to report even the slightest variation from your child’s normal routine and mood. Consult a counselor or psychologist if your child exhibits potential signs that he or she is struggling to cope.
Don’t ask your caregiver to closely monitor your spouse’s behavior. It might be tempting, but it will only lead to potentially uncomfortable situations.
Do work with your nanny to develop a consistent and healthy routine for your child. Even if your world is turning upside-down, your caregiver can help keep everything smooth for the child.
Don’t forget to remember your caregiver during the holidays or special occasions. Especially if your nanny has truly helped your family and your child find balance amid chaos, say thank you. Small handmade gifts, a framed picture of your caregiver with your children, or a manageable tip can mean a lot.
The truth is that none of us are perfect. And during the difficult times of divorce, even the wisest of parents make plenty of mistakes. If you know you’ve committed each of the Don’ts above, give yourself a break. Take a deep breath. And start anew.
Have you gone through divorce or a difficult time and relied on your caregiver for help? What advice can you offer for getting through tough times and how to work with your caregiver to make the best life for your kids?
Check out these articles for more information on how to help your family survive divorce: