One of the most difficult things for children—and parents—to handle during divorce are the transition periods between parenting times, especially for young children. Your child is used to having both Mom and Dad in the same home together, sleeping in the same room every night, surrounded by the same toys and belongings. Suddenly, instead of the consistency of a daily routine, his or her little world is turned upside down and your child spends his or her time being shuffled between two homes, two routines, and two different sets of rules. However, there are steps parents can take to make that transition easier for everyone.
Prepare Children for the Parenting Time Transition
It is vital for a child’s adjustment to feel secure and to know exactly what to expect now that he or she is going to be leaving his or her home to go spend time at what will also be his or her home, with the other parent. Discuss the things your child may want to bring and assure your child that you will help him or her pack those things up. Explain what days your child will be going from one home to another. A suggestion that provides a good visual for young children to follow is to make a color-coded calendar for each home so the child can see when the transitions will take place and what days he or she will be at each home.
Also reassure your child that even during the times he or she is with the other parent, you are still thinking about him or her and your child will still be able to call you. Working out a schedule with the other parent of times each of you can check in with your child—such as before bed or after school—helps with everyone’s adjustment. It is also crucial to respect your co-parent’s time with your child and to not make it a habit of interrupting their time together with too many phone calls or other contacts.
Respect and Communication is Key
Respecting the other parent’s time with your child is important. Arrive on time when meeting for exchanges and, if for some reason you are going to be delayed, let the other parent know. When you do meet, keep it friendly—even if there are legal or other issues still being worked out. You may also be upset that your child is leaving, but do not let these emotions show to your child. Keep all interaction during the exchange upbeat and friendly and this will let your child know it is okay for him or her to go have a good time with your co-parent.
Take Care of You
Although you may feel sad or angry about “sharing” your child, take advantage of this alone time and take care of you. Find things you enjoy doing and spend your free time doing them. Get together with friends, start a new hobby, or any activity that you wished in the past you had the time to do. Enjoying your alone time also helps in parenting time transitions since it brings about a positive experience.
DuPage County Family Law Attorney
Unfortunately, try as we may to peacefully co-parent, it does not always work out that way and issues often arise that can lead to parenting time modifications being necessary. If you are having issues with your co-parent, contact a skilled DuPage County family law attorney to find out what legal options you may have. Call Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC at (630) 793-6337 to schedule your confidential consultation today.