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Useful tips to manage activities and events out of two homes

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

1) It is important that you manage activities and events out of two homes for your child. If both parents are involved as much as they can be, this will help your child mentally and emotionally.

Here are some tips that can help you along the way:

  • Support your child’s need for both parents to be involved. Don?t exclude your ex. The first people your child will look for will probably be Mum and Dad ? and the involvement of both parents is hugely beneficial to children.
  • Be responsible for sharing information with the other household. Leaving children to do this sends a subtle message that the other parent’s involvement is unwelcome. Remember, you still have a responsibility to your children.
  • Seek support from both households before involving your children in an activity. If you can’t agree, seek middle ground, support the activity for your kids and set boundaries with your ex later.
  • Keep your word. Being around your ex may be hard, but don’t make things worse for your kids by failing to show up at events when they are expecting you.
  • Enjoy the moment. Make the most of the precious time you have to cheer at games, applaud performances and work with your child on projects.
  • Consider how you could make things easier for your kids. Carry an extra set of activity items in case the kids forget them; share information with the other parent even if they don’t with you; enjoy sharing an activity with your child.

2) Planning for family events is also useful, the more organised you are, the better the event will be for you and your child. If the child is given more information about who will be there, what the occasion is for, the less anxious they will be.

Here are some tips that can help you along the way:

  • Think ahead. Where or when might your kids have a difficult time? What is most challenging for them? What might help them manage their behaviour better?
  • Prepare. Pack a small bag with items to keep kids busy. Include water and healthy snacks so that they don?t overindulge in soft drinks and sweets.
  • Plan with kids. Talk to them about what to expect. Let them know important details (when, where, who) and what you expect of them during the occasion.
  • Catch them being good. Praise them throughout ? don?t wait until the end.
  • Give breaks as needed. If your child seems overwhelmed or on the verge of having problems give them a break by removing them from the situation.

3) Summer holidays is a chance for both you and your ex-partner to spend quality time with your child. If you can split the holidays between yourselves, this will be a more fair and balanced agreement that your child can adapt to.

Here are some tips that can help you along the way:

  • Talk to the other parent about plans. If you disagree, make the best of things and focus on what is best for your children.
  • Plan ahead. How would you like to spend time with your children and what can you do to prepare them for holidays and special occasions?
  • Instead of informing children about plans, talk with them about how they would like to spend time with you.
  • Build in quality time with low-key activities like visiting the park, reading a book together or playing a game. Too many exciting activities can overwhelm children and tire them out.
  • Support your child?s relationship with your ex.
  • If travelling with the kids, give the other parent contact information and details ? you both have a right to know where your children are.
  • Help children maintain consistent contact with the other parent by phone or email. Remember that children may miss their other parent.
  • When your children are with the other parent, use your time to get refreshed. Visit friends, take a class, read a book or enjoy a lazy day.

4) Special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays can be difficult and changes can create stress for child too. Emotional stress can be eased when parents put their child’s needs first.

Here are some tips that can help you along the way:

  • Avoid conflict with the other parent. Focus on your children?s needs.
  • Keep children informed about plans ? where they will be and with whom.
  • Build a sense of family. Talk to your children about what makes the holidays special and how you can enjoy yourselves.
  • Allow children to talk about past special occasions. They have a right to good memories of their family.
  • Let the children know that even though things will be different, they can still be special. Invite them to help establish new rituals with you.
  • Help your children make or buy gifts for their other parent ? so that they can experience the joy of giving and know that you support their relationship.
  • Don?t overindulge the children or get into a ?gift competition? with your ex. Try to coordinate gift choices with the other parent.
  • Minimize tensions for your children. Only take part in activities with the other parent like opening presents if it will be a positive experience.
  • Allow your children to decide where they will keep their gifts.
  • Maintain a sense of humour and be flexible. If plans are altered, ask yourself: ?What difference will this make one year from now??
  • Use time away from your children to do something special for yourself.

5) Getting your child back into routine can be difficult, especially when your child has been in two different households. You may want to consider starting the year off with a family meeting. This will provide you with the opportunity to talk to your child and let him/her express their ideas. This will make your child feel included. Creating goals with your child will also help strengthen emotional connections to your home.

Here are some tips that can help you along the way:

  • Plan ahead. Think through key points to cover. Consider asking your children to talk about what they liked about the family during the past year, what they would like to change, and what they think you need to work on as a family.
  • Choose a date. Think about scheduling during a transition time (after dinner, over breakfast, before bed). Try to avoid pulling children away from activities. Try to make meetings no more than 30 minutes long.
  • Set a positive tone. Let kids know ahead of time that you would like about 30 minutes of their time so that they can share their thoughts and ideas.
  • Make sure everyone in the family gets time to speak. Ask one of the children to note down ideas.
Source: Resolution

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