The Do’s and Don’ts of Moving In With Your Significant Other When You Have Kids

posted: 05/13/16
by: Korenne Smith

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Jake and his children discuss Ami moving in with them.

Moving in with your significant other is an exciting progression in any relationship. It's a moment that signifies the depth of your partnership and your level of commitment to each other. When one or both people have children, it adds another exciting element to your changing environment. You are not only sharing a home, but also the joys (and challenges) of raising a family together.

TLC's "Single Dad Seeking" shares the lives of single dads looking for love for themselves and their children. After dating online, each father asks their new significant other to move in with their family. In the video above, you'll see Jake talking to his kids about his girlfriend Ami's decision to move across the country to live with them. If you are considering a similar next step in your relationship, below are some do's and don'ts for single parents when combining households.

DO have the conversation with your children to explain this change.

At this point, your children have likely spent time with your new partner. When you explain that you will be combining households, be sure to emphasize that this new change will not change your relationship with them. It's also important to encourage open dialogue about this so you can confront any of their concerns and hesitations as they arise. It's okay if you don't have all the answers about how this new living arrangement will work. But at least, your children will know that they can talk to you if and when they feel uncomfortable.

DON'T expect a cohesive family overnight.

Just like any relationship, building a bond between new household members can be work. Manage your own expectations for how each person will react to this new environment. You all may have good days and bad days as everyone adjusts. Be realistic and understand it will take time before everyone truly feels settled.

DO establish ground rules for the household.

Each family has different routines, chores, schedules that they've grown accustomed to. Who cooks? Are meals eaten together? Who does the dishes? As a group, create a system for how the household can run smoothly so each person's needs are met. As you get into a groove, things may change, but setting up an initial structure early on, will make the changes less chaotic.

DON'T forget to involve your children in the process of making your house a home.

Your kids may be moving into your partner's home, they may be moving into yours, or maybe you are starting fresh with a new place. Regardless, take the time to ensure every family member has a living environment that reflects their needs. As a family, decide on fun new additions to communal spaces such as a wall painting you all create together. It will allow everyone to feel at home and connected together.

"Single Dad Seeking" airs on Sundays at 10/9c. In case you missed it, watch the premiere of "Single Dad Seeking" here.