Blending a home can be a difficult task. With all the new changes happening and trying to do your best to help your stepchildren feel appreciated and loved, it can get frustrating. According to the Stepfamily Foundation, 50% of the 60 million children under the age of 13 currently live with a biological parent and a stepparent in the U.S. These statistics show that you’re not alone in these big life changes. As a new stepparent, the last thing you want is for your stepchildren to not feel welcomed or comfortable in their new home. If you’re struggling to create a more welcoming, blended home for your stepfamily, follow along below for tips and tricks to help you and your space.
Take a Deep Breath
First, get all the help and support you need so you can focus on being your best self for your stepfamily. Start by journaling any thoughts, fears, or worries you might be feeling at the moment. It’s also important to write down all the happy and exciting moments you have with your family, so the negative thoughts don’t outweigh the positive ones. Because you’re not alone, there are many additional resources to help you ease your worries about becoming a new stepparent. Don’t forget to lean on your friends. Venting to a friend is a great way to get things off your chest and talk about all the new changes happening in your home. Although it might seem scary in the beginning, things will start to feel normal in due time.
Make your Home Accommodating
Making necessary updates are the first projects you should tackle when preparing your home for a blended family. Before diving in, create a list of all the updates you need to make. Depending on the size of your home and how many people will be living there, you might have to add more space. If you have a basement, you could consider converting it into a few more rooms. This could potentially be a big project, especially if the basement isn’t finished yet. Along with adding more bedrooms, replace any old unsecured windows, and update the safety of the backyard by putting in a fence (if you don’t have one already). For smaller updates, check to see if your home is child-proof. If the furniture is not safe for smaller children, you may want to purchase new pieces.
If the renovations seem to be too much to take on, consider searching for a new home where you and your blended family can start fresh. Although a lot goes into buying a new home, it may be a better alternative than feeling crammed in a tight space, especially if you have limited time to make the big renovations. Start by making a list of characteristics you desire in a new home, such as size and location. If the number of people in your new blended family is large, you might be wondering, “how much can I afford to spend on a house,” especially if you’d like to give each child their own room. It’s crucial to be realistic about how much you’ll be able to spend. Look at homes in your price range to avoid falling in love with a place that’s far out of reach. Remember, not everything is going to be perfect right away, but trying your best to create a welcoming home for your stepfamily should be a top priority.
Transform a Space of Their Own
Although renovating a room can be a huge undertaking, transforming a bedroom into a room of their own is a great way to welcome children into the home. Start by thinking of the size, layout, colors, privacy, and best way to utilize the space of the room. Ask your child what color or theme they prefer, or if they have any special ideas of their own. To include them in the process and let them know their opinions matter, take them shopping for a new comforter, curtains, bed frame, furniture, and decorations for the bedroom. This is also a great way to bond with your stepchildren and make new memories with them.
Paint colors and accessories can easily be changed in the future, so don’t worry if they choose a bright or obnoxious paint color. It’s important to encourage their creativity and let them know being themselves is okay. As a stepparent, the last thing you want is for your new family to feel like a guest in their new home.
Include Them in the Home
The best way to welcome your stepchildren is by including them in the home’s decorations. If you have a family photo wall or a shelf with picture frames, include photos of them to create a blended family atmosphere. The children will notice if they’re prominent in the home. Another way to help them feel welcome at home is by hanging good grades or art projects on the refrigerator. Consider buying a whiteboard calendar so you can keep track of the family’s doctor appointments, school events, practices, and if applicable, the days the children will be staying with you versus their other biological parent. This will not only involve them in the home, but it will help you stay organized. For smaller, more sentimental ideas to welcome them into the home, you can customize new family mugs or bathroom towels with everyone’s initials on them. These ideas will help give the children a sense of belonging.
Create New Traditions
A great way to avoid overstepping boundaries as a stepparent is by creating new memories and traditions as a blended family. After all, there’s a lot of advice on what not to do as a stepparent to help you navigate this process. To avoid these conflicts, work with your spouse to create new traditions for the children so they have a sense of familiarity and something to look forward to. As a new blended family, there are many ways to bond together. One way is by having a designated night for dinners, such as Taco Tuesday or Friday night pizza parties. In the summer, going for a family walk after dinner is a great way to get out of the house and share your highs and lows throughout the day. If your stepchildren are younger, a mommy/daddy date with each child is a way to bond and grow your relationship. Around the holidays, decorating the home, putting up decorations, playing music, and drinking hot cocoa are wholesome ways to bond together as a blended family. Remember, the children may not show a lot of respect or emotions toward you right away and that’s okay. You can have some expectations for the successful blending of families, but not everything will be perfect right away.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers right away on how to be a good stepparent. Over time, you’ll learn what works and what not to do. Utilizing the helpful tips above will give you a good idea of how to create a welcoming, blended home for your new family. Good luck, you’ve got this!