Parenting is rewarding, but let’s all agree it’s hard, too. Now if you are no longer with the other parent, that can complicate things even further. And if you are only getting every other weekend custody, there is going to be a big transition period. Here are some tips on how to help make that transition as painless as possible.
Before getting to the tips, however, know that there are support groups out there to help newly single parents and kids of divorce work through the new custody arrangements that go beyond these tips. So if you are having trouble adjusting to your new routine, please seek out help.
Create a routine. Kids thrive on routines, they want to know what to expect and when. Try to pick them up and drop them off at the same time each visit. Be upfront with them on what they should anticipate while staying in your new house to help alleviate their anxieties over the whole situation.
And with that, be flexible. Things inevitably come up with kids and if you become stressed out over it, your kids will notice and it will make the visit unpleasant. Children get sick or you might even come down with something and will have to switch weekends. Just roll with the punches and handle the issues with a level head.
Don’t overdo it with festivities. You might feel the need to do something extravagant each weekend to make your weekends special, but it’s unnecessary. Going back to having a routine, your kids just want to be around their parents and making every other weekend a party might make them feel as if you are competing for their affection.
If you want to do something special, but not overdoing it, make one of the nights a pizza night when they are with you. It will play into having a routine, but also doing something small to enjoy your time together.
Speaking of which, you can still plan to have special times together. If you have more than one child, try to schedule in time alone with each of them, if at all possible. This will help you connect them on a personal level and bond more.
Don’t feel like you need to put your social life on hold because you are now a divorced parent. After the kids have gone to bed, hire a sitter for a couple hours and enjoy time with your friends. It won’t take away from the time that you are spending with them while they are awake.
Every other weekend custody is a big adjustment, but if you follow these tips to help with visitations, they will go a little more smoothly. Regardless of how you feel about your ex, be respectful towards them when your children are present. They do not need to be in the cross hairs of your arguments. This will make the pick up and drop off interactions more pleasant and less stressful for everyone.