Shared Child Custody - Helping With Visitation Transitions

If you and your ex-spouse have recently gone through a divorce, getting into the rhythm of a visitation schedule can be hard on both parents and kids. It is important that you follow what was set forth in the courts and with your family lawyer for visitation. Beyond that, there are things you can do to help with this transition. Here are four ways you can help your kids with transition days between parents.

1. Keep Kids Involved With Evolving Plans

It is never a good idea to keep kids in the dark about visitation plans, especially if these tend to change. Even younger children should know if there might be changes in plans upcoming so that they don't hold false expectation. Kids don't do well with uncertainty and should be involved in visitation planning if it's appropriate to share. 

2. Stay Positive on Transition Days

Even if you and your ex-spouse aren't on the greatest of terms, it is important to stay upbeat when picking up and dropping off kids. Even if your child is sad or stressed, it is important that you are stable and encouraging. They can mirror this behavior and transition days will become less emotional and more routine.

3. Pack With Your Kids

Kids that are shuttling back and forth between parents might forget things, especially if this is a new arrangement. Make sure that your child has their needed items, such as medications and school supplies. Beyond that, also make sure kids don't forget comforts such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Both parents can help by having standard things at each home, but your child will ultimately have to bring things along so make sure they have what they need.

4. Keep Thing Simple When Returning Home

When your child comes home to you after spending time with their other parent, you will most likely be excited to see them and want to hear about their time. Try to read your child's mood. They might actually need some time to themselves to transition back to their surroundings, whether or not this is their primary home. Give them time to watch TV or be in their room until they are fully ready to get back into the groove of things.

Your final custody agreement with your ex-spouse and divorce attorneys is in the best interests of your children, but this can only do so much. As a parent, you set the tone and can make this major change in your child's life either seamless or bumpy. Try to put your own emotions aside and focus on your child's security and emotions around their situation.