Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How Can You Make the Most of Our Your Time with Your Children?

Creating balanced, workable co-parenting plans can be challenging for everyone involved, and often it feels like the clock is working against everybody’s best interests. A few guidelines can help every parent make the most of their family visit.

Prioritize the Schedule

A certain amount of flexibility with planning family visits is necessary for cooperative custody arrangements, but plans shouldn’t change last minute unless an emergency makes it unavoidable. Pick-up and drop-off times are crucial to respecting each parents’ scheduling needs, but more importantly, it communicates stability to the children.

Frequent and sudden changes or visits that must be cut short unexpectedly can negatively impact children’s sense of trust. The mood of future visits can suffer if they learn it’s just as likely that time with one parent is bound to be cut short. If you feel that the current custody arrangements aren’t working, get in touch with your lawyer to revisit the arrangements instead of taking it into your own hands.

Stop, Look, And Listen

Parents with shared custody arrangements often try to pack exciting events and special outings into every visit. It’s a natural response to a difficult situation, even when all members of the family maintain positive connections. Any time apart from their children means a parent misses precious milestones and unique moments. Super-sizing the fun in every visit can crowd out the quieter, more everyday moments necessary for family bonding.

Pizza and popping on a movie to watch at home, playing board games or serving a traditional dinner and talking around the table are all just as important for making fun memories together. There are hundreds of things you can do at home that are great for building a relationship. You don’t want your children to associate you just with the big crazy activities. You also want to build a trusting relationship with your children, especially if you don’t have primary custody.

Talk It Out

One of the most valuable gifts parents can give their children is their honesty. Children are often underestimated for having a lack of maturity and ability to understand difficult concepts but they usually have some idea of what is going on. Using simple, straightforward language, making relatable comparisons, and staying supportive and curious about their questions, parents can do a lot with only a little bit of communication.

Frequent check-ins help keep big ideas manageable between parent and child, too. Parents who maintain connections between visits spend less time playing catch up and build trust as being good listeners as their children grow. Listen carefully to your children and make sure that you follow through on anything you promise them. Make sure they know that you really are listening to their concerns.

The key points for every parent to consider when forming their custody arrangements should focus on schedules that can be followed regularly, creating everyday experiences with their family instead of frequent outings, and keep open patterns of communication between the parents and children during and in between visits.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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