I opposed all screen time when my son was a toddler. But after my husband moved out, I relented. Specifically, I let our early-rising son watch “Fireman Sam” in the morning while I sat in bed in a torpor with my first cup of coffee.
Two years later, we moved to Los Angeles. Fireman Sam came too, my son continuing to watch him save the accident-prone residents of Ponty Panty early mornings from our post out west.
I hadn’t envisioned a parenting plan so inclusive of an animated firefighter from Wales, and later some crazy purple puff ball masquerading as a chicken. But my son loved them, and establishing routines—even around leisure activities such as a (marginally) educational television show promoting positive values—can help create continuity and a sense of stability.
Stability matters for children. Knowing what happens when translates into confidence and security, a sense of efficacy and control. Creating stability takes extra effort if you move, as we did, or if your child “relocates” weekly because you share custody with your ex.
If you’re divorcing and have joint physical custody, you can take the time to teach kids helpful organization skills. Not so organized yourself? Use the fact of your divorce as motivation to learn.