Tips for Handling Parenting Time Transitions
When shared parenting plans call for the kids to split their time living with each parent, it can be hard for the whole family to adapt to this change. It can be hard for the kids to get used to frequently transitioning between homes, but it can also be tough for a parent to face the reality of an emptier home when their kids are with the other parent. As a parent, knowing how to prepare the kids as well as learning how to handle these transitions on your own are just a few aspects of getting used to shared parenting. To help make parenting time transitions a little less scary, here are a few helpful tips.
Get The Kids Ready
Even before the transitions start, begin prepping your children for what is to come. Talk through the major details like on which days they will occur, when you will help them pack, and who will take them from house to house. Having a color-coded calendar in a place that the kids can see in each home will help them understand the schedule of transitions. Reassure your children that even when they're with their other parent, you'll still be thinking of them and will keep in touch whenever possible. Try and coordinate a schedule with your co-parent of times that you can check in with your kids like after school or before bedtime.
Keep Transitions Smooth
When your children are moving between homes, keep things as smooth as possible. Be on time for exchanges, and always notify your co-parent if you think you may be late for any reason. If you will see your co-parent during the exchange, be calm and cordial. Don't bring up any issues that could initiate conflict or tension. Maintain control over your emotions, even if you feel sad about letting your kids go. Tell them that you love them and hope they have a nice time with their other parent. Staying calm during this time will reassure your kids that they'll be fine even while you're not with them.
Respect Your Co-Parent's Time
When your children are with your co-parent, let them have that time together. Your children crave to have a strong relationship with both you and their other parent, and the time they get to spend with each of you individually helps to cultivate that bond. While you may contact your children during this time, set some limits for yourself. Stick to a routine that your co-parent is aware of so that they can prepare to let your kids have time to chat with you without interrupting something they are all doing together.
Take Care Of Yourself
The time that your children are with your co-parent are times for you to concentrate on your well-being. If this situation is new to you, you're facing a huge life transition of your own. Use your personal time to focus on what you need. Spend it doing things that you enjoy. Also, be proactive and get things done that could help make your parenting time transitions more comfortable for yourself and your kids. Work on getting your home organized, if that's been something you've meant to do. If you're still looking for a permanent space to call home, use this time to search for houses or apartments. If you can get yourself to a comfortable place in your life, you'll be better able to give your kids the care they deserve when they're with you.
Getting used to parenting time transitions will take time for everyone, and that's okay. If everyone is on the same page about the schedule and details concerning the transitions, it'll be a smoother process for everyone. Using tools like those found on the OurFamilyWizard® website, parents can track every aspect of their parenting time transitions from the parenting schedule, notes about what needs to be brought to each home, and much more. Parents can even use these tools to propose modifications to the schedule of parenting time transitions if an adjustment needs to be made. When their kids are with the other parent, a parent can use the OFW® message board communicate with co-parent or even with the kids. Learn more about how the OurFamilyWizard website can help make parenting time transitions easier.