This custody transition may be hard on your children, especially in the weeks after your divorce. If you share custody of your kids with their other parent, the transition is when you exchange the kids before and after your scheduled parenting time.
With some effort, you can help control your children’s emotional reaction to the custody exchange. Three actions may ease your custody transition.
1. Communicate with your children’s co-parent
Even if you are on good terms with your ex-spouse, the custody transition may be a sensitive matter. Effective communication is essential for a low-key custody exchange.
Tell your children’s co-parent about your transition plans as soon as you know them. If something derails your plans, immediately notify your ex-spouse and communicate the reworked plan.
2. Set realistic expectations for your kids
To help minimize stress, tell your kids how they can expect the custody transition to unfold. For example, you may say you are going to drop the children off at the exchange site, but you are not going to stick around to eat lunch or play.
Creating a transition ritual you also follow may also set realistic expectations.
3. Pack essential items a few hours early
It probably makes sense for your kids to have separate sets of necessary items, such as toothbrushes and pajamas, at each parent’s house. Some things, though, must travel between your home and your ex-spouse’s. These may include the following:
- Security blankets
- Stuffed animals
- Other treasures
Forgetting to pack an essential item may cause your children to breakdown. To be sure you send everything you children need with them, pack indispensable items a few hours early. This gives you the opportunity both to audit your packing and to locate items you may have missed.