Children are better adjusted if they have parenting time with each parent. If your ex-spouse states discouragement that visits aren't going so well, brainstorm together about what could be done to improve the situation. Toys and entertaining activities may pacify a child for a time, but continuity between both houses can give your children the structure they need to feel secure. It is hard work to craft a visitation routine that works, but the effort will benefit your children immensely.
Navigating Developmental Needs
For a young child still developmentally working on the concept of transitions, going with the non-custodial parent to another home is understandably anxiety provoking. Youngsters need reassurance with activity centered on their interests. In this type of case, it would be a good idea to check in with your ex-spouse about how visits are going. The anxiety you see when you drop your child off may melt away a few minutes after you leave.
Flexibility For Older Children
Conflicts between your teen's social life and her visitation schedule are bound to put some bumps in a visitation routine. Flexibility in parenting arrangements is crucial at this point in your child's maturation because she is developing relationships outside her family sphere, which is a normal developmental process at this time in her life. On the other hand, she still needs contact with both parents as a "home base." As much as possible, let her enjoy some time with friends on the weekend, and some time with you. This way, everyone stays connected with their circle of family and friends.
Encourage Good Visits
Here are some suggestions to make your child's visit to your ex-spouse's home easier:
- Encourage your child's visit to the other parent's home.
- Reassure your children that everything will be alright while they're visiting the other parent.
- Remember to curb negativity about the other parent in front of your children.
- Be proactive in packing: make sure that they have everything they need for their visit.
- Stay aware to signs of failure to adjust to the new visitation schedule.
If you're looking forward to a weekend visit from your child, here's what you can do to encourage a meaningful and fun time:
- Let your child talk to or text their other parent while they are visiting.
- If you have extra work on the weekend, make sure that you do it when the kids are in bed.
- Stay in your children's lives even when they aren't visiting by attending their important school, sport and recital events.
- Have the quality time that is blended with fun and responsibilities so that your child feels needed in both households.
If adjustments and accommodations for comfort are made to the visitation schedule and your child still has problems adjusting to visitation, it may be time to address the matter with a professional such as a family therapist. With the cooperation of both parents, a parenting plan that keeps the needs of your child in the forefront is possible.