If you and your co-parent are sharing custody of your children, it’s essential to understand the importance of making their transitions between your homes as smooth and easy as possible. Until kids get used to spending their time in two different homes, moving back and forth can produce a good deal of anxiety. There are a number of things that parents can do to help ease this anxiety.
First, it’s essential not to use these transitions as a time to bring up issues with your co-parent. Resolve them when the kids aren’t around.
Just refraining from fighting isn’t enough. Kids can sense tension, even when it’s silent. Keep whatever interaction you need to have with your co-parent pleasant.
It’s also important to be positive about the transition. Don’t make your child feel guilty for being away from you. Encourage them to enjoy their time with their other parent and to feel free to talk about their activities when they return.
Don’t make them pack any more than necessary. Kids should feel like both homes are theirs — not like they’re visiting one parent or the other. They shouldn’t have to spend much time at either home packing or unpacking. As much as possible, make sure that they have some clothes, electronics and toiletries in both homes. That way, they only have to bring school books and perhaps a few treasured items they don’t like to be without.
Make sure your kids know the schedule and stick to it. This gives children a sense of security. If things change and you have to deviate from the set custody or visitation schedule, inform your kids right away. Don’t be late getting your child to your co-parent’s home or picking them up. This will only aggravate your ex and cause stress for your child.
If the custody schedule you’ve agreed to isn’t working or if circumstances change, you can make modifications to it. However, unless there’s a real problem, it’s usually best to keep modifications to a minimum, at least in the early months after the divorce. Your attorney can help you seek changes to the child custody schedule if and when they become necessary.