Every other weekend, you and your ex meet at the local diner parking lot to exchange your kids. Here are a few tips to help make this hand-off a more peaceful one:

Say hello

You say hello to the cashier at the grocery store and the teller at the bank. Extend this same kind of curtsey to your ex at drop-off in acknowledging their presence. This doesn’t mean you have to engage in a long conversation about their mother or if they’ve seen any good movies lately—if you have this kind of relationship with your ex, great, but if not, that’s perfectly fine, too. Just remember, little eyes are always watching, and a simple hello can do wonders in demonstrating maturity in front of your children. 

Don’t rush a goodbye

Allow your child to say goodbye to your ex. Whether that’s giving them time for one more hug before you leave, or allowing them to figure out the best time to call them this week, allow them to do this. This will show your children you care about their relationship with your ex, and will also demonstrate and help set the kind of tone with how you’d like drop-offs to go.

Share important information and ask about any, too

Use this time to ask your ex about anything important they need to share about your children’s stay. If there’s anything coming up on the calendar you have a question about, this might a good time to touch base about that as well. If there’s sunscreen or a swimsuit your child might have left at their house, use this time to kindly ask them to please look for it.

Remember, this is not a time to focus on you and your ex’s past relationship. This time is and should only be focused on the children. Any sort of conflict or a discussion that begins to turn into a conflict should immediately be put on hold and discussed during a time when the children are not around.