One of the hardest things you will have to do as a divorced parent is to encourage your children to go with your ex when they don’t want to go. As long as they aren’t avoiding going due to some type of neglect or abuse, it’s your job is to encourage them to have a relationship with their other parent.
Some children just don’t handle change well, so the transition is quite difficult. You will be doing your children a favor if you work to make it as smooth as possible.
Things You Can Do To Help Your Child Adjust To Visitation:
1. Don’t let your own anxiety over them leaving show. If your children feel that you aren’t okay with them going to see their other parent then they aren’t going to be happy. Let them know that you will miss them while they are away but you are glad that they are going to be able to spend time with their other parent. If you know things that are planned for that time then remind them in an enthusiastic way so they have something great to look forward to.
2. It is a good idea for you to keep your plans to yourself about what you are doing while the children are away. If they feel like you are doing something fun without them they may not want to go see their other parent. If they ask you what you will be doing, let them know the basic things such as cleaning, working, reading a book, those types of things that they see you take part in all the time.
3. Let your child take items to the other parent’s home that are familiar. This can be pictures, games, a blanket, or even a stuffed animal to sleep with. Too many parents impose such limitations as what is at their home has to stay there. This arrangement is not one that benefits the children though in any way.
4. If you have set days where you and your ex trade off the children, let the children know that schedule. You can let them help to mark the days on the calendar until they will be with the other parent. This will make it less confusing for them.
5. Help your child prepare for being with the other parent. You can give them gentle reminders such as telling them that tomorrow they will be going to their Dad’s house. You can also let them know a couple hours before the transition will take place. Try to have a mutual agreement with your ex that the children can call either parent when they want to. This way you can remind them they can give you a call later to tell you how they are doing.
It can be difficult at times to put on the smile and encourage your children to go with the other parent. Yet it is something you need to do for them to be happy with the transition.
Having consistency around visitation at both homes will help children get past negative issues they may have. While divorce isn’t going to be easy for them, they are going to need the love and support of both parents to help get them through it.
Don’t fail to realize how important it is for a child to know both parents. You also don’t want to fail to realize how your own reaction to them leaving is going to affect them. As time goes by you will have less issues with the transitions. They may still come up now and then, but they probably won’t be as pronounced as time goes on.