No matter what the schedule, most parenting plans involve transitions between one household and the other. These parental visitation changeovers can be complicated and emotional times for kids, but there are things parents can do to make them easier.
Co-parenting doesn’t always go smoothly, but remember that kids are hyper-aware of tension during transitions. If you’re exchanging whispered words with your ex during the exchange, chances are that the kids know about it—even if you think you’re taking steps to disguise the tension.
Kids who hear their parents fight during transitions often come to dread them and see them only as a source of stress. To make the transitions less stressful, choose other times for tense conversations.
Especially for young children who haven’t fully grasped the days of the week and how to tell time, co-parenting schedules can be difficult to understand. Help them make sense of it by explaining the schedule clearly.
Make a visual representation, like a color-coded wall calendar, or mark the days on a whiteboard in the kitchen. Remind your child of the transition the day before so they have time to prepare and so the transition seems like less of a surprise.
You can also help your kids feel like the schedule is more regular if you create rituals around it. For example, is there one last thing you can do before each switch? Be creative and get your kids’ insight to pick something they’ll look forward to.
Work to create an atmosphere where your child will feel at home as soon as they step through the door—not like a visitor who has to unpack. Make sure they have a toothbrush and other toiletries that are just for your house, so they don’t have to bring things back and forth. Having basic items at your house ready for your child to use can help make the transition feel like less of a change.
For legal help with your co-parenting plan or other issues related to child custody, it’s best to talk directly with an attorney about your situation. Based in Arlington, the Schneider Law Firm, P.C. represents clients in a wide range of matters related to family law. Call 817-799-7125 or send us a message to arrange a free and confidential consultation.