Keeping your divorce from disrupting your children’s lives requires thoughtful action. Despite personal differences, your decision to act cordially with your ex may reduce feelings of fear, uncertainty and stress for your children.
One challenge you may face is custody exchanges. Knowing how to act during these particularly uncomfortable situations may help you to facilitate an optimal experience for everyone involved.
Have a game plan
Having no coordinated plan for switching parents may complicate your ability to prepare for an exchange. Even more concerning, constantly changing circumstances may affect your children’s willingness to comply, increase feelings of anxiety and elevate tension. Contrarily, creating a game plan and consistently following through can help your children know what to expect which can make their experience significantly better.
Spend adequate time preparing for an exchange. Particularly, if you have younger children, set aside time to help them gather sentimental personal items such as a beloved stuffed animal or blanket. Make sure your children have any homework they will need, necessary medications or supplements, and gear or supplies they may need for extracurricular activities. Sending your children off prepared and unrushed may elevate feelings of trust, appreciation and anticipation.
Make it public
If you have concerns about managing your emotions around your ex or if your relationship has a volatile past, you may consider exchanging custody in a public place. According to The Mayo Clinic, one of the best ways to help your children cope with divorce is to keep them out of the fight. If you feel that a more private custody exchange could endanger anyone or will result in an emotional debacle, having other people present may encourage everyone to keep their emotions in check and behave responsibly.
Custody exchanges do not have to be a negative and dreaded experience. With some maturity, responsibility and civility, you can do your part to make this transfer as seamless as possible for your children.