Stability is important to children and few events are as destabilizing as a divorce that requires children to begin splitting their time between parents in different Illinois households. In addition to the trauma of their parents’ separation, children must also adapt to two new households when both parents move out of the marital home. This can result in complex logistical challenges for the children, which can then manifest in concerning behavioral challenges for the parents.
These challenges are often exacerbated at the junction between the two households as parents hand off the children to each other during parenting time changeovers. Here are four ways to minimize the stress of these changeovers for children and make the process more manageable for adults.
Let The Kids Know What to Expect
A new situation feels more stable when you know what should happen. Kids managing complex schedules often do quite well when they know what to anticipate ahead of time. Having a calendar in a public area of the house that clearly illustrates the children’s schedule can help them set reasonable expectations and avoid unpleasant surprises. Giving regular reminders can help as well.
Make Sure They Feel Comfortable in Both Homes
Children need to feel comfortable and at home with both parents. Packing a bag and fussing over your child’s needs when she visits her other parent can reinforce the idea that your home is “home” and the other parent’s home is “away.” Encourage children to settle in both homes by giving them what they need in your home and not hovering over them when they leave.
Avoid Conflict During Transitions
Children can recover well from the challenges of divorce when parents make a conscious effort to avoid exposing children to parental conflict. If you tend to fight with your spouse whenever you talk face-to-face, limit conversation during custody changeovers. Save potentially argumentative discussions about money, scheduling, and school for a time when the children cannot hear either of you.
Be On Time
Children are acutely aware of their parents’ priorities, even if they do not have a sophisticated vocabulary to describe them. If you are late to pick up your children, they could easily intuit that other things are more important to you - even if you feel strongly this is not true. Show your children that caring for them comes first by being punctual to meetings and acting like you are happy to see them when you arrive.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Parenting Time Attorney
The experienced DuPage County parenting time attorneys with Andrew Cores Family Law Group know that adjusting to life after divorce has its challenges. That is why we strive to provide you with a divorce process that is as seamless as possible - so you can focus on helping your family heal and establishing a new normal. Call us today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers.