One of the challenges of divorce is trying to work out a schedule for the children. This is hard on them because they have to learn how to adjust to two different homes. Both parents will have to work to make the transition as easy as possible.
There are many ways that you can help children with the transition from one home to another. It takes effort with you and your ex working as a team.
Start with the exchange
Try to make the child custody exchange as peaceful as possible. Keeping the conflict down during this time can set the mood for everyone involved. For some parents, the exchange will happen at a home, but it might be necessary, in some instances, to pick a neutral location. Both parents must ensure they are on time for this event.
If you are doing the hand off at a home, the parent who has the kids should bring them to the other home if possible. This gives the children a chance to prepare for the transition. Often, this is easier than sitting around at one home while waiting for the other parent to show up.
Explain the plan
Children need consistency to thrive. While many parenting time schedules allow for this, there might be times when you can’t keep things the same. Take the time to explain the new plan to the children so they know what to expect. This can take the worry out of the situation, which will help them adjust to changes.
Set the standards early
During the early days of the split, you might be tempted to allow the children to get away with things that aren’t usually allowed. This might seem like a good idea, but it can make things more difficult for the kids. Instead, set the rules from the start. Make the consequences of breaking them clear, as well as the rewards for behaving.
If possible, your children should have clothing at both homes. This minimizes the amount of stuff they have to bring back and forth. Some children will have items that they will want to have with them at both homes. Allow this. Remember, the items belong to the children and not the parents.
Your parenting plan is the outline of what needs to happen. While there might be some deviations, this is where you should turn if there are ever questions or disputes. Modifying the plan if it isn’t working for your children any longer might be necessary sometimes.