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Helping your child: 7 tips for better visitation and custody time

From an early age, children benefit from a supportive routine. There is no question that it is more difficult to maintain a routine when a child has to go between two parents' houses. It is important to maintain some semblance of similarity between the routines at each home. If both parents cannot agree on how to raise the child, it may lead to conflict, since the child will not know what to do or what is acceptable with each parent.

There are a few different tips that can help you have smoother visitation days. Here are seven tips to help you and the other parent keep your child comfortable between homes.

  • Be flexible

The first thing to do is to remember that flexibility is key. When a child throws a tantrum and doesn't want to leave the home, can both parents agree to allow them to stay in one place and reduce the child's anxiety? Will you have a plan for if your child is sick or wants to have a friend stay at mom's or dad's house that night? Flexibility makes visitation much easier.

  • Create a routine

Both parents should work on a routine that stays the same between houses. For example, getting homework done after school and then following a nightly bath routine that remains the same helps keep your child on the same page at both homes.

  • Discuss rules with your ex-spouse

If you are worried about what your child might do at the other parent's home, sit down with the other parent and discuss what actions should or should not be allowed.

  • Spend individual time with your child

It is most important to spend time with your child. Take time to focus on their needs and wants when they're with you.

  • Keep open the lines of communication

If you and the other parent can do so, stay in communication about your child's needs. Talk about behavior challenges and other needs, so you both know what has to happen in the future.

  • Be respectful

Be kind to the other parent, because this reflects back to your child. You want your child to see that adults are respectful of each other if you want your child to act that way toward you.

  • Be on time

Finally, be on time. If you're late or forget about visitation, it will cause stress for your child. Be on time and keep a regular schedule.

These tips will help your child adjust to visitation and custody easily. With time, your child will adapt to the new routine.

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