When you are used to seeing your child every day, abiding by a visitation schedule can feel disappointing or frustrating. Sometimes it may even feel like a limitation on your relationship with your child. However, it is important to remember how your current custody arrangement benefits your child and make the most of the time you have with him or her.
Be present and on time
It is important to follow your current custody arrangement. Although you may feel like you do not get enough time with your child, you can help make the most of that time by making your best effort to utilize each visitation. Try to avoid canceling, and aim to be on time when picking up and dropping off your child.
Although being physically present for every visitation is important, it is also important to be mentally present as well. You may have lingering negative emotions about your former spouse, the divorce or even the way custody ended up. However, when you are with your child, try to let those negative emotions go, so they do not impact the quality of the visit.
Make sure your child feels comfortable in your home
If your child will be spending time at your house or apartment, it is important to make sure your child has his or her own space there. If your child has a comfort object, like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, try to see if that item can be packed to travel between homes with your child. You may also consider allowing your child to pick out a couple new items to decorate his or her new room. Allowing your child to have friends over and setting expectations for chores can also help your new residence feel more like home to your child.
Find the right balance of activity
Keep in mind that you do not need to go out of your way to entertain your child, and it can even be helpful to develop a normal routine. However, you should not ignore your child either.
The right balance of activity typically means that you and your child will usually get up at your normal times, complete normal chores and may even have some time alone during the day. However, you may try to interact with your child throughout the day with activities such as games, movies, crafts, walks, bike rides, books or other age appropriate activities. Your visitation time may also be a good opportunity to try out a new hobby with your child.
Although you should consider what activities your child might be interested in, you should try to avoid making every visit feel like a holiday. For example, if you usually only go out to eat as a special treat, do not start taking your child out to eat for every meal.
It is important that your child’s best interests are served by your current custody agreement and visitation schedule. Sometimes a family’s situation changes or a child’s needs change. If the situation merits it, your custody arrangement or visitation schedule may be able to be legally changed. However, until a change is legally made, you should take appropriate actions to make the most of your visitation within the current arrangement.