During the summer months, many parents face the issue of sharing their child with the noncustodial parent. This means changes to everyone’s schedules, especially the child’s. Whether you are new to this or whether you have been facing this for years, here are some tips on how to make the transition a little smoother:
Ease Everyone’s Mind:
Whether your child will be going across town or to another state, preparing early to get things in order will not only help you, but help your child feel more comfortable. Make sure you know where your child will be going so you will have all the necessary contact information and also provide your child with the information on how to contact you. Make sure your ex is aware of your child capabilities such as swimming or being outdoors. It will be important to know when your ex is planning activities. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask who will be caring for your child when you ex out or at work.
Depending upon your child’s age, you may want to consider getting them a cell phone. This allows you and your child to know they will always have the opportunity to get in touch. At the same time, be sure not to call several times a day. As hard as it may seem, you not only need to show some trust in your ex, but you also need to let them have uninterrupted time alone with the child. If having a cell phone is not an option, find out if the child will have access to the internet, then you can possibly set up a free email account. If all else fails, simply send some stationary and stamps and you can exchange letters.
Pack The Essentials:
You want to make sure your ex will have all the necessary items to care for your child such as medications, glasses, contacts, retainers, any summer homework, special sunscreen, specific toys, etc. Make sure they have the appropriate clothing for where they are going. Provide your ex with a copy of any specific schedule that applies to your child such as taking medications. It will be for you and your ex to work out, but maintaining the child’s overall daily schedule will prove to be the most beneficial.
Talk To Your Child:
For some children it’s hard to be away from home and what they are used to. Discuss with them before hand about the visit. You’ll want to remind them they are going to be with their other parent who loves them very much and are looking forward to spending time with them. Try not to focus on how hard the separation will be for you. This burden is not your child’s to carry so you don’t want to instill that guilt into them before they leave. It’s better to give them permission to have as much fun as they want.
Dealing With The Return:
In a perfect world, both parents would carry the same schedule and have the same rules for the child regardless of the household they are in. However, that is often not the case. Many parents face difficulties when their child returns getting them back into their schedule and getting them readjusted to the rules. When faced with this issue and depending upon the child’s age, parents need to consistently remind children, “we don’t do that in our home”, “we don’t act that way in our home”, “that may be allowed at daddy’s or mommy’s home, but it’s not allowed here”. We have to remember, for younger children especially, it is a confusing situation for them and they will need time to get used to it. Just be consistent, be patient, and don’t feel as though you need to let things slide because you want to be the “good guy” or because you feel bad about the situation your child is in.