Dating again after a divorce is a big step, and you’ve finally found the right person to bring happiness to your life. Now, however, you have a major hurdle to overcome since you know your relationship is serious. Introducing your child to a new partner for the first time can be a little nerve-wracking, but these tips will help you to quickly make the introductions and help your child adjust to having a new person in their life.

Have an Honest Discussion

Your first step is to talk to your child about your new boyfriend or girlfriend. While your child may have known that you were dating, they may not realize that you have found a serious new partner. Plan to have your talk when your child is in a relatively good mood. For instance, you may want to talk to them on the weekend when they are not stressed out from school. Make sure your child knows that your new partner is not necessarily there to replace their other parent, or that you expect them to get along immediately. Listen to your child and make sure they know you respect their feelings.

Invite Him Over for a Special Holiday

Special events are often easier for making introductions to children. This is because your child will already be excited about the occasion, and there may also be other people involved so that they do not feel pressured to spend too much time one-on-one with your new partner. To make this extra special, consider helping your child pick out something to give your partner on a gift-giving occasion. Just make sure to give your child a few ideas before they help you buy gifts for your boyfriend or girlfriend. Seeing your new partner’s eyes light up at the package your child selected will fill your child with excitement, and may help your child feel more kindly towards your partner

Plan a Follow Up Activity

During the initial introduction, it helps if everyone is engaged in an activity. In addition to gift-giving, try planning for some fun and games that help to break the ice. Choose activities that fit your child’s age level and interests but that also foster communication or teamwork. For instance, you could all play a game of basketball outside, or you could suggest a simple board game at the table.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Once you’ve made the introductions, be sure to check in with your child after your partner goes home. This lets your child know that you value how they feel, and it makes it clear that you want to help them build a relationship with your new partner. As you talk, let your child know that they can come to you with any questions as you continue to date.

As you introduce your new partner, be sure to give your child time to process what this means. While you may not see your child form an instant connection, you can look forward to the day when your child asks when you’ll see your boyfriend next. By taking things slow and giving your child lots of personal attention, you can be sure that your introduction will go smoothly.