This week we have been discussing child visitation weekend schedules – in which kids spend the weekends with one custodial parent and the weekend with the other custodial parent. As we covered in our last article, there are both benefits and drawbacks to the weekend visitation schedule. However, how you and your ex approach this schedule can have a huge impact on how successful it is. Here are a few tips:
- Remember that kids thrive on schedules – One of the difficult aspects of child visitation is that it is disruptive to children’s schedules, which in turn affects their sense of security. Try to drop off and pick up children at the same time. If you have the kids on the weekend, try to have a loose schedule even though the kids might not have school or activities.
- Add a few special rituals – Rituals can add structure to your visits and make departures easier. Try meeting and having lunch as a family when you drop the children off. Or get your children a special duffle bag to pack when they go to their dads. Or tuck a note in their bags before they leave that they can read over the weekend. Big or small, these rituals can be fun, meaningful, or even funny.
- Have a common set of rules – If at all possible, communicate openly with your spouse and determine a set of rules that reign supreme at both households. This will give your kids a sense of continuality and make certain that they see their parents as a unified front.
- Keep a common calendar – Even if you always have the kids on weekends (or during the week) doesn’t mean that you have full decision-making power—your children could have an important school event or social event. Using a common calendar (there are lots of choices online) can help coordinate these events and eliminate misunderstandings.
The weekend visitation schedule can be tough for both parents and kids. Open communication and lots of love and understanding can help you eliminate many common issues.
The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny helps families with a variety of custody, visitation, and support legal issues. Call 425-460-0550 today to speak with a Washington family lawyer.