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Is ‘nesting’ really the best solution for our children?

Nesting co-parenting

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Navigating the complexities of divorce, child custody, and co-parenting can be daunting. As parents strive to provide stability and a sense of normalcy for their children amidst separation, innovative concepts like “nesting” have emerged to reshape the landscape of co-parenting. But what is nesting, and does it really offer a better solution to you and your children?

Nesting is a unique arrangement where each parent takes turns living in the family home while the children remain in a fixed location. This article delves into the world of nesting, exploring its benefits and challenges and providing insights for those considering this modern alternative approach.

What Is Nesting?

In the context of co-parenting, nesting is a progressive arrangement involving parents rotating their living arrangements within the family home. Unlike traditional co-parenting models, where children move between two separate households, nesting maintains a stable environment by keeping them in a consistent location while the parents come and go on rotation.

Traditional Alternatives

In conventional co-parenting, children often shuttle between two separate homes, adapting to new environments and routines. While this approach can work for many families, it can also create emotional strain and disrupt a child’s sense of belonging. Nesting offers a departure from this norm, focusing on minimizing disruptions and creating a seamless transition for the children.

CoParenting expert Bella Duncan reveals her thoughts on ‘nesting’, and what to be aware of. You can contact Bella Duncan directly by email: akidwithtwohomes@gmail.com

Benefits of Nesting for Children

Nesting is a groundbreaking co-parenting approach, brings a plethora of benefits for children caught amid divorce, separation, and child custody battles. This unconventional arrangement, where parents rotate living in the family home, offers unique advantages that can positively impact children’s emotional well-being and overall development. The following are some of the benefits of nesting for children.

Stability and Emotional Security:

One of the most significant benefits of nesting for children is the preservation of stability and emotional security. The family home remains a consistent anchor in their lives, reducing the upheaval and uncertainty that often accompany traditional co-parenting models involving multiple residences. This consistency contributes to a sense of safety and reassurance, allowing children to better cope with the challenges of divorce.

Uninterrupted Routines:

Nesting enables children to maintain their established routines seamlessly. From waking up in their own bed to attending the same school and engaging in extracurricular activities, children can continue their daily lives without significant disruptions. This continuity is crucial for their academic performance, social interactions, and overall sense of normalcy during significant change.

Minimized Stress and Anxiety: 

The predictability and familiarity of the family home significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels in children. They don’t have to constantly adapt to new environments, routines, or household rules, allowing them to focus on emotional healing and growth.

More assertive Parent-Child Bond: 

Nesting encourages parents to be actively present and engaged during designated times in the family home. This arrangement facilitates quality bonding moments between parents and children, fostering deeper relationships and emotional connections. Parents are more likely to prioritize quality time over logistical challenges, strengthening the parent-child bond.

Healthy Coping Mechanisms:

Nesting allows children to witness their parents cooperating and communicating effectively. When parents work together to navigate the challenges of nesting, children learn valuable lessons about conflict resolution, compromise, and resilience. These skills can be a foundation for their healthy coping mechanisms in adversity.

Reduced Feelings of Abandonment:

Traditional co-parenting arrangements can sometimes trigger feelings of abandonment or rejection in children as they move back and forth between separate households. Nesting eliminates this emotional strain by ensuring children never feel like they are losing touch with one parent or being forced to choose sides.

Enhanced Communication Skills: 

The co-parenting dynamics inherent in nesting require open and consistent communication between parents. Children benefit from observing their parents discussing schedules, making decisions, and collaborating on their well-being. This exposure to effective communication models healthy interaction patterns children can apply in their relationships.

Supportive Transition Period:

Divorce and separation are significant life changes that can overwhelm children. Nesting is a transition period where children can gradually adjust to the new family dynamics. It allows them to ease into the changes at their own pace, reducing the shock and emotional upheaval often associated with divorce.

Respect for Boundaries:

Nesting teaches children the importance of respecting boundaries and individual spaces. Parents setting clear guidelines for personal areas within the family home can help children understand the concept of personal boundaries. This lesson can be valuable as they navigate relationships outside the family.

Positive Long-Term Effects:

The positive effects of nesting can extend into the long term. Children raised in an environment where their well-being and stability are prioritized are more likely to develop into emotionally resilient individuals capable of handling life’s challenges gracefully and confidently.

Challenges of Nesting for Children

While the concept of nesting offers a unique and innovative approach to co-parenting, it’s essential to recognize that this arrangement comes with its challenges, especially for the children involved. Nesting, where parents rotate their living arrangements within the family home, aims to provide stability during divorce and separation. However, beneath the surface of this seemingly seamless transition, children may encounter various emotional and practical difficulties that require careful consideration and proactive management. The following are some of the challenges.

Emotional Adjustment:

Nesting can create emotional confusion for children, particularly younger ones, who may struggle to understand why their parents live separately in the same home. The inconsistency of their parent’s presence can lead to insecurity and uncertainty about the family structure.

Loyalty Conflict:

Children may feel torn between their parents during nesting. Witnessing their parents coming and going can evoke a sense of divided loyalty, as they may worry about hurting one parent’s feelings or appearing to favor one over the other.

Sense of Displacement:

While Nesting aims to maintain stability, children may still experience a sense of displacement. The constant presence of their parents’ belongings and personal items may serve as a reminder of the separation, making it difficult for them to settle into the idea of a new family dynamic fully.

Privacy and Autonomy:

Adolescents and older children might struggle to maintain privacy and autonomy when sharing a space with both parents. The lack of personal space could hinder their ability to develop a sense of independence, potentially leading to frustration or conflict.

Parental Conflict Exposure:

Nesting requires high cooperation and communication between co-parents. If disagreements or tensions arise during the transition between parents, children may inadvertently witness conflicts, which can contribute to emotional distress.

Mixed Signals:

Children might receive mixed signals about the nature of their parent’s relationship during nesting. They may witness moments of warmth and collaboration between their parents, leading to potential confusion about the divorce and their parents’ feelings for each other.

Adjustment to New Routines:

While nesting aims to maintain routines, shifting living arrangements can still disrupt daily schedules. Children may need to adjust to different meal plans, bedtime routines, and overall household dynamics, which can be challenging, especially for children who thrive on consistency.

Limited Personalization of Space:

Nesting often means children need help to personalize their living spaces fully. They might feel restricted in expressing their individuality or decorating their areas according to their preferences.

Change in Peer Interactions:

Children’s friends and peers might not fully understand the nesting arrangement, leading to potential explanations and social adjustments. This could impact their social interactions and friendships, potentially causing feelings of isolation or being different.

Long-Term Uncertainty:

While Nesting can provide temporary stability, children may wonder about the long-term future of their family. The regular presence of both parents in the family home might raise questions about whether their parents will eventually reunite or continue living separately.

Benefits of Nesting for Parents

In the realm of co-parenting innovations, nesting emerges as a beacon of hope for parents navigating the intricate terrain of divorce and separation. Nesting, an alternative approach where co-parents live in the family home, offers many unique advantages beyond conventional methods. While the primary focus of nesting revolves around stability and consistency for children, it also brings forth many benefits for the parents themselves. This article delves into the remarkable benefits of nesting for parents, shedding light on how this unconventional arrangement fosters cooperation, reduces stress, and nurtures a harmonious co-parenting journey. Here are some of the benefits of nesting for parents.

Cooperation and Communication:

Nesting encourages co-parents to communicate effectively and collaborate on parenting decisions. Since both parents share the same living space at different times, they can discuss and address essential matters face-to-face. This consistent communication can lead to better co-parenting relationships and a smoother parent-child transition between parents.

Smooth Transition Period:

Divorce and separation can be emotionally challenging for both parents. Nesting provides a unique transitional period where parents can gradually adjust to their new roles as co-parents without the immediate pressure of setting up separate households. This adjustment can be especially helpful in reducing conflict and easing the emotional impact of the divorce process.

Parenting Continuity:

Children benefit from a consistent parenting approach, and nesting facilitates this continuity. Parents can maintain shared values, rules, and routines more quickly when they live in the family home at different times. This helps minimize confusion and conflict from differing parenting styles between two households.

Equal Sharing of Responsibilities:

Nesting promotes an equitable distribution of parenting responsibilities. Both parents remain actively involved in their children’s daily lives, sharing household chores, school pickups, and extracurricular activities. This equal sharing of duties can strengthen the bond between co-parents and children.

Reduced Stress and Logistics:

Moving between two households can be physically and emotionally taxing for parents and children. Nesting eliminates the need for constant packing and unpacking, reducing the logistical stress of traditional co-parenting arrangements. Parents can focus more on quality time with their children rather than managing the practicalities of moving.


While maintaining separate living arrangements can be financially demanding, nesting can be more cost-effective than running two separate households. Parents can save money on rent, utilities, and other expenses associated with maintaining two homes, freeing up resources for other family needs.

Shared Resources:

Nesting allows parents to share resources such as household items, appliances, and furniture. This can be particularly beneficial when the family home contains sentimental or valuable possessions that both parents want to retain access to.

Gradual Adjustment for Children:

Nesting can provide a smoother transition from an intact family to a separated one. Instead of an abrupt shift to new living arrangements, nesting allows children to gradually get used to having both parents in different locations while maintaining a consistent home environment.

Parental Bonding:

Nesting lets parents spend more quality time with their children individually during designated periods at the family home. This one-on-one time can strengthen the parent-child bond, promoting open communication and emotional connections.

Conflict Reduction:

Nesting can potentially reduce the likelihood of conflict between parents. The shared responsibility of maintaining the family home encourages co-parents to find common ground and resolve issues amicably, as they are still sharing a living space.

Flexibility for Work and Personal Life:

Nesting can offer parents more flexibility to pursue their work and personal commitments. While one parent is at the family home, the other can use their time to work, socialize, or engage in personal activities without the added pressure of immediate childcare responsibilities.

Challenges of Nesting for Parents

While nesting offers a promising approach to co-parenting, it’s essential to acknowledge the various challenges parents may face when adopting this unique arrangement. Successfully navigating these challenges requires high commitment, communication, and a shared understanding between co-parents. Here’s a detailed look at the challenges of nesting for parents:

Financial Strain:

One of the most significant challenges of nesting is the potential financial strain it can place on both parents. Maintaining multiple living arrangements, including the family home and separate residences for each parent, can lead to increased expenses. Mortgage or rent payments, utilities, and upkeep costs for multiple properties can add up quickly, especially when financial resources are already stretched due to divorce. Co-parents must carefully consider their financial capabilities and whether nesting is financially sustainable.

Privacy and Personal Space:

Sharing a family home during nesting can create challenges related to privacy and personal space for both parents. Co-parents need to define clear boundaries and establish guidelines for personal areas within the home. The absence of personal space can lead to feelings of discomfort, tension, or a lack of autonomy. It’s essential to address these concerns openly and find ways to respect each other’s privacy to ensure a harmonious nesting arrangement.

Logistical Complexities:

Nesting requires meticulous planning and coordination between parents to manage the logistics of moving in and out of the family home. This can include coordinating schedules, packing and unpacking belongings, and ensuring a smooth transition for the children. Failure to communicate effectively and plan can lead to confusion, scheduling conflicts, and disruptions in the children’s routines. Co-parents must be prepared for the logistical complexities of Nesting and commit to maintaining a well-organized system.

Maintaining Boundaries:

Establishing and maintaining clear boundaries is crucial for the success of nesting. Co-parents must define their roles, responsibilities, and expectations within the shared living arrangement. This includes setting rules for shared spaces, childcare duties, and decision-making processes. With well-defined boundaries, conflicts can arise, and the nesting arrangement may become smooth. Effective communication and a willingness to compromise are essential for co-parents to maintain healthy boundaries.

Emotional Challenges:

Divorce and separation are emotionally taxing experiences for both parents. Nesting can intensify these emotions as co-parents navigate the complexities of living together while no longer in a romantic relationship. Dealing with unresolved emotions or past issues can lead to tensions and conflicts that negatively impact the children’s well-being. Co-parents need to prioritize emotional self-care, seek counseling or therapy if needed, and maintain open communication channels to address any emotional challenges.

Transitioning to New Relationships:

As parents move forward and potentially enter new romantic relationships, nesting dynamics can become more complex. Introducing new partners into the nesting arrangement requires careful consideration and discussion to ensure everyone involved is comfortable and on the same page. Coordinating the introduction of new partners, managing potential jealousy or discomfort, and finding ways to prioritize the children’s emotional well-being can be challenging.

Legal and Practical Considerations:

Nesting may involve legal and practical considerations that co-parents need to navigate. Legal agreements, such as custody arrangements and property ownership, must be carefully drafted to reflect the nesting arrangement accurately. Co-parents should seek legal advice to ensure their rights and responsibilities are protected within the nesting context. Additionally, practical matters such as managing shared expenses, household chores, and maintenance responsibilities must be addressed to avoid conflicts and ensure a smoothly running household.

Is Nesting Right for Me and My Family?

Nesting is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires a high level of cooperation, communication, and commitment from both parents. Families with an amicable relationship, a willingness to work together, and a focus on their children’s well-being are more likely to find success with nesting.

When is Bird-Nesting Not Appropriate?

Nesting may not be suitable for families with a history of conflict, unresolved issues, or a lack of communication between co-parents. Families with financial constraints may also need to help maintain multiple living arrangements.

The Best Nesting Tips

Navigating the intricate landscape of co-parenting post-divorce can be a delicate dance, especially when seeking innovative solutions prioritizing stability and well-being. Enter nesting – a unique approach where parents take turns residing in the family home while the children remain grounded in a consistent environment. While nesting holds incredible potential for smoother transitions and shared responsibilities, its success lies in the details. Here are some of the best nesting tips.

Structured Communication Plan:

Develop a comprehensive communication plan that outlines how and when co-parents will exchange information about schedules, children’s activities, and important decisions. Utilize technology, such as shared calendars and messaging apps, to ensure efficient communication without misunderstandings.

Designated Spaces:

Establish clearly defined personal spaces within the family home for each co-parent. This helps maintain privacy and boundaries, reducing conflicts and ensuring a comfortable living environment.

Parenting Consistency:

Co-parents should strive for consistent parenting approaches, rules, and expectations to minimize confusion for the children. This consistency reinforces a stable environment despite the changing presence of parents.

Household Guidelines:

Collaboratively set guidelines for household chores, responsibilities, and shared expenses. Clearly define tasks and expectations to avoid disagreements and foster a harmonious living arrangement.

Transition Rituals:

Create special transition rituals or activities that mark the changeover between co-parents. This can help children adjust to the shift and look forward to spending time with each parent.

Children’s Space Customization:

Allow children to personalize their living space within the family home. Allowing them to decorate, arrange furniture, and express their individuality helps them feel more comfortable and in control.

Open Dialogue with Children:

Encourage open conversations about the nesting arrangement with your children. Address any questions, concerns, or feelings they may have, and reassure them that their well-being remains a top priority.

Professional Support:

Consider involving a family therapist or counsellor to facilitate healthy communication and conflict resolution between co-parents and to help children navigate their emotions during this transition.

Respect for Each Other’s Time:

Show mutual respect’s parenting time by adhering to agreed-upon schedules. Punctuality and flexibility are crucial to maintaining a smooth nesting arrangement.

Transition Necessities:

Ensure that both co-parents have their essential belongings, such as clothing, personal items, and work-related materials, readily accessible within the family home. This minimizes disruptions during transitions.

Nesting conclusion

Nesting offers a unique approach to child custody, home ownership, and parenting. While it’s not without challenges, its potential benefits for children’s stability and parents’ cooperation make it a worthy and compelling option for families willing to embrace this innovative approach.

As with any co-parenting decision, the well-being of the children should remain at the heart of the choice, ultimately guiding parents toward the path that best suits their unique circumstances.

Nesting may well offer the best solution for you and your situation, either short or long-term.

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