you and your children. If your custody agreement involves your child moving between one home and another periodically, it can be difficult for your child to adjust to the changing settings.
Though shared custody can take some time to adapt to, there are things you can do to help your child adjust to life in two homes.
Tips for co-parenting effectively with a shared custody agreement
When it comes to helping your child settle in to a shared custody agreement, here are five things you can do to help ease the transition:
- Be encouraging about your child’s relationship with the other parent. Sometimes there can be bitter feelings towards your child’s other parent. But it is important to remember that your relationship with your ex should not influence your child’s relationship with their other parent. If your child feels like they need to hide positive experiences with their parent from you, it can cause them to feel isolated and unable to express themselves.
- Talk to your co-parent about consistent rules and expectations in both houses. Your homes don’t have to have identical rules, but there should be some consistency with what your child can expect. Having rules that cross households also show that you and your co-parent are still a team, even though you are living in separate households. An example of a rule that can benefit both houses is for your child to not ask one parent for something that the other has already said “no” to.
- Give your child a space in both homes. Having a space to call their own can help your child feel comfortable at both of their homes. Giving your child the ability to decorate their own space can also help them feel at home no matter where they are.
- Figure out the packing situation. When your child has to move between households frequently, it can be difficult to establish a good packing routine that doesn’t end in things being left behind or forgotten. Make a list of things that your child will need to pack and check them off as they are packed. It is also helpful for both homes to always have necessities like toothbrushes, hygiene products, and clothes, to limit the possibility of something essential being left behind.
- Strive towards better communication with your co-parent. You don’t need to be best friends with your child’s other parent, but being able to have conversations about discipline, scheduling, and other important things is critical to your child’s happiness. Choose your battles carefully and remember that at the end of the day, both of you want what is best for the child you share.
Shared custody doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With careful planning, healthy perspective, and the shared goal of creating a better life for your child, you and your co-parent can help create strong environments for your child to thrive in.