Many times after going through a divorce, there are ever changing visitation schedules to adapt to, and it is important for parents to remember that life for the children continues. Parents should try to show a united front so that the children understand what is happening and become well-adjusted and comfortable with the new family dynamic.
Tips for Successful Parental Visitation
The following are some tips to have a successful visitation that is pleasant for everyone and has the least negative impact on the children:
- Do not argue in front of your children. Little ears can hear much more than many parents think. Parental visitation is a time for children to look forward to, where they get to spend quality time with mom or dad. It is not a time for the parents to argue about the divorce, finances, or what the other is or is not doing. If you need to discuss an issue, do so at another time. There is a time and place for everything and the visitation exchange is not the place for such a conversation.
- Always give positive reinforcement to the children about visitation. Change can be difficult for children, but they tend to adapt if they are reassured by their parents. It’s important not to let your emotions about the divorce process or things that were said or discovered during the divorce overshadow the time the children will spend with the other parent.
- Don’t be late. Being on time helps establish a schedule and routine that the children become accustomed to. Arriving late for a visit can create a tension-filled exchange. The children are top priority so make sure that you show them that by being on time. If running late, be courteous and let the other parent know so that plans can be made with the children to keep them occupied while they wait.
- Create a calendar specific to the children so that both houses have a place for the children to refer to and visually see where they will be. Put dinners, overnights, vacations, and holidays all on the calendar. Not only does this cut down on everyone’s stress level, but it also develops a consistency between both homes.
- Don’t be a stickler for keeping comfort items at each parent’s house. If the child has a favorite blanket, outfit, toy, or stuffed animal, ensure that they take it back and forth between the homes until they get accustomed to the transitions. If you notice that the child is having reservations or developing behaviors outside their norm, suggest a comfort item to bring down their stress and anxiety level.
- Allow phone calls and communications between the other parent and the children. Calling the other parent to have the children say goodnight or having the children call whenever you notice that they are missing the other parent is an excellent way to show the children that missing the other parent is okay and doesn’t mean that they don’t have access to that parent.
At Andalman & Flynn, we know how important your children are to you. It is imperative that you and your estranged spouse learn to communicate when in their presence and that you do everything in your power to allow them to work through transitions and phases of their emotions in order to have successful child visitation. It’s the parents’ job to prepare the children for changes and obstacles that they will tackle in their adult lives, and the best way to do so is by beginning now.
For Legal Assistance Establishing Child Custody & Visitation Schedules in Maryland, Contact Us
At Andalman & Flynn, we have an experienced team of Maryland family law attorneys in place to help you with all aspects of your divorce and to help you look out for the best interest of your children. We can assist you through alternative dispute resolution and help you establish custody agreements and parental visitation schedules that put your children first.
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