Making Joint Custody Transition Easier

Transition time is often inevitable in joint custody transition situations. Having to move from one household to another, either every few days or only weekends, is thoug for children. Every transition means saying “hello” to one parent and “goodbye” to the other. But there are a couple of things you can do to make transitions easier, both when your children leave and return.

Your children leave home

While your children are preparing to leave for the transition to your ex-partners house, stay positive and deliver them on time. Use these strategies to ease the transitions:

  • Help children to anticipate the change.Remind the children they'll be leaving for the other parent's house in the day or two before the visit.
  • (Help) pack in advance. Age depending, help children pack their bags well before they leave, so not to forget anything they'll miss. Encourage packing familiar reminders like a special stuffed toy or photograph.
  • Only drop off and never pick up the child on &ldquot;switch day&ldquot;. To avoid &ldquot;taking&ldquot; your child from the other parent and risking to interrupt or curtailing a special moment, only drop off your child at the other parent's house.

Your children return home

The first moments the children return to your home can be awkward. Try this to help your children adjust to the joint custody transition:

  • Keep things low-key. As soon as your children come home again, have some down time together, €”read a book or do some other quiet activity.
  • Double up. To simplify packing and make the children more comfortable when they are at the other parent's house, have the children's basics—toothbrush, hairbrush, pajamas—at both houses.
  • Allow the child space. Children often need a little time to adjust to the transition. Give them some space.
  • Establish a special routine. Play a game or serve the same special meal each time your child returns. Children thrive on routine—expectations can help the transition.

Visitation refusal, what now?

It sometimes happens that chidlren refuse to leave one parent to be with the other. Although a difficult situation, it is also common for children in joint custody transition to behave like this.

  • Find the cause. Talk to your children about their refusal. The problem may be easy to resolve. I.e. paying more attention to your child, making a change in discipline style, or having more toys o other entertainment. There can also be an emotional, such as conflict or misunderstanding.
  • Go with the flow. Even if you have not found the reason for refusal yet, give your children space and time they obviously need. Most cases of visitation refusal are temporary.
  • Talk to your ex-partner. Discussing the refusal with your ex-partner can be challenging and emotional, but might give the needed information. Be sensitive and understanding to your ex-partner as you discuss this touchy subject.
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