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Easing parenting time transitions for your kids

Parenting time transitions can be some of the most difficult parts of a newly-separated or divorced parent's life. One part of you may be a bit relieved to hand over the single parent responsibilities, even if for a day or two. However, giving up your kids to your co-parent (particularly if the break-up was less than amicable) can be heart wrenching.

It's essential, however, to keep your focus on your kids' well-being. They're probably nervous and perhaps a bit sad as well -- particularly if their parents living in two homes is still new. There are things that you can do to make these parenting transitions easier for your kids and yourself.

Talk with the kids before the exchange to make sure that they know how long they will be with their other parent, who will be dropping them off and picking them up and when. If they're going to be away for a few days, let them know when you'll be calling or otherwise communicating with them. Details like this can be reassuring to kids.

That's just one reason why it's essential that you and your co-parent stick to the parenting plan (or if that hasn't been finalized yet, the arrangement that you've agreed on). Let them know that you feel good about them spending time with their other parent. You can let them know that you'll miss them without making them feel guilty about leaving you.

Keep the exchange calm. This is no time to rehash old arguments or start new ones. Your kids shouldn't dread these transitions as times when their parents get into a fight. If the two of you absolutely can't deal civilly with one another, arrange for another family member or friend to handle the exchange.

Respect your kids' time with their other parent. As noted, set a time when you'll contact them and stick to it. Let them enjoy their time uninterrupted by constant calls and texts from you.

The more that you and your co-parent can work together amicably, the better your children will likely adjust to the divorce. Your level of amicability toward one another may determine just how specific the parenting plan needs to be. Your family law attorney can provide guidance on the level of specificity that is advisable depending on your particular family dynamic and help you if troubles arise.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Tips for Handling Parenting Time Transitions," accessed April 07, 2017

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