Going through a divorce is stressful and difficult, but what’s more difficult is to deal with its aftermath. This is especially true for children who suddenly find themselves in the midst of a separation and have to adjust to the changing circumstances.
The custody swap, if not handled carefully, can be both emotionally and psychologically disturbing for a child. Because of this, it’s important for a co-parent to make this transition as smooth for their child as possible.
Here are a few tips to guide you through the initial stage of co-parenting and how to make joint custody transitions smooth for your child after divorce.
Keep Your Child’s Best Interest In Mind
As a parent, your kid’s happiness should be your top priority. This also entails keeping your own differences aside and getting comfortable with the idea of compromise for your child’s greater good. Here, good communication is key. Discuss and plan everything beforehand like who’s picking up the kid, where, and at what time? Also, when your child is with your co-parent, let them have their time together and enjoy.
Get Your Kid Ready
Try to be as open and clear with your child as possible. Even before the transition starts, prepare him or her for the future. Talk thoroughly about everything, like on which days your kid will be living with the co-parent and during which days he or she will be living with you. You can also prepare a color-coded calendar and stick it in the bedroom of both of your houses. This way your child will eventually be able to understand the schedule of transitions.
Keep The Transitions Smooth For Your Child
Keep the transitions as smooth as possible for your child. Coordinate with the co-parent and decide a meeting place. If you think you are going to be late for any reason, notify the co-parent ahead of time. Also, make sure to remain calm and cordial during the meeting. Even if you are feeling sad about letting your kid go, don’t show it on your face. Staying calm during this time will reassure your child that he or she will be fine even while you’re not with them.
Let Your Kid Choose
To be able to choose and make decisions for themselves can be empowering for children during transitions. You can start by giving your kid small choices, like which video game to bring or which T-shirt to pack. This will let your child feel like he or she is in control, and ease their mind.
Talk About What Your Kid Is Looking Forward To
By talking about what happens during and after transitions, you are creating a picture of the future in your child’s mind. Try to put yourself in his or her shoes and imagine what he or she might be thinking about the issue. Educate him or her on the matter and about what they should expect. This will help your kid get used to the idea of transition and alleviate any disconcerting thoughts he or she might be having.
Create A Goodbye Ritual
Create a goodbye ritual that you can follow during transitions. It can be anything – for example, you might say “I love you to the moon and back” every time, or “Catch you later, kiddo!”. Such a routine can become a source of comfort for both you and your kid during the time you are away from each other.
Pack Your Kid’s Favorites
Your child might be feeling sad when they have to stay away from you. In such a time, having his or her favorite stuffed toy can be greatly comforting. It can also be something else, like a favorite box of cookies or a soft blanket. Anything that helps your kid ease his nervousness and makes him go to sleep should be considered a good option.
Ultimately, all it takes is a little understanding and patience on your part to make transitions less stressful and amicable for children.