Relationship Tips for Stepfamilies

Ensure a hassle-free handover.

Agree to be punctual but remember, sometimes delays do happen. Try not to let the hold-ups ruin the children’s contact time.

Allow the child to feel at home.

The kids aren’t just visiting. This is their life. Taking it gently gives everyone a chance to relax and be themselves.

Come up with cheap-and-cheerful activities.

Money can’t buy their love. Try talking about, planning for, and negotiating fun time together. Challenge the kids to come up with 5 things to do at the weekend that will not break the bank. Cheap can be cheerful!

Take turns to choose what’s for dinner.

It’s hard to please all the people all the time. You don’t need to impress. You can make life easy with ready-made options available. Can everyone take turns for a ‘favourites night’?

Give the child a space to call their own.

As we don’t all live in mansions, a bedroom each won’t always be available, but what about trying to have a bed and their own chosen bedding? Create wardrobe and drawer space for clothes and a special box for some of their favourite things.

Negotiate and agree a clear set of family rules.

Where possible, let everyone have a say in setting out family rules. Keep it simple. Then everyone knows what the rules are.

Take things one step at a time.

Getting to know each other can be difficult especially when people are nervous, angry, or scared. It’s easy to feel hurt. Accept differences where you can and change what you need to, one step at a time…

Make room for parent-child bonding.

Time is precious to the children who come to stay with their parent. Make special time for them ‘to be with each other.’ It also gives ‘time-out’ for everyone else.

Relax – don’t over-do it!

Create space for you and your partner to have time together – you need and deserve it.