If you and your spouse are separating or divorcing and sharing custody of your children, it’s essential to make their transitions between homes as easy and stress-free as possible. Whether you’re splitting custody 50-50 or one of you will be a “weekends and holidays” parent, children should feel they belong in both parents’ homes.
Many co-parenting experts agree that children shouldn’t have to bring a suitcase as they move between homes. It can make them feel like they’re just visiting the parent they’re with the least — or that they can’t really call either home their own. That’s why it’s best to have some items that belong to your children in both homes.
What those items are will depend on their age and interests. It will also depend on what you and your co-parent can afford to double up on. Let’s take a look at some items that you and your co-parent should consider having at both of your homes.
Medications/vitamins: You won’t be able to double up on your child’s prescriptions. However, you should have children’s over-the-counter (OTC) medications for headaches, fever and stomachaches. Keep their daily vitamins on hand also.
Toiletries: There’s no reason for kids to have to pack a toothbrush, hairbrush, shampoo or other daily essentials. Both parents should have those.
Sports/extracurricular supplies and uniforms: You probably won’t want to buy two saxophones or violins if your child is musically inclined. However, you can probably have baseball equipment, ballet tights and slippers and things like that in both homes. If it’s within your budget, buy two of any sports uniforms they need.
Toys/electronics: You don’t need one of every toy or electronic in each home. However, each should have a selection of your kids’ favorite toys, games and other electronics.Clothing: Most parents can’t afford to keep a closet full of clothes for their children in each home. However, it’s a good idea for them to have some basics (underwear, socks, shoes, jeans and coats) at each place. If your kids have school uniforms, it’s a good idea for them to have one in both homes.
What you do will depend on your children’s needs and your budget. The key is for your kids to feel that both of your homes are theirs so they don’t have to use time they could be spending doing things with you and their other parent unpacking or packing.