In some cases, children struggle with custody exchanges. They may be unhappy to go through the transition between homes, even if they’re happy at both parents’ homes. It’s just that the exchange itself can feel a bit unsettling and they may complain about not being able to stay in the home they prefer.
As a parent, you never want to take this personally. Remember that it’s just a stressful and confusing time for a child. Rather than being frustrated, use the following tips to make things go more smoothly.
Let the children see the schedule
Having a printed schedule can be helpful for parents, but it can also really help children. They can always check to see where they’re going to be in the future and they can plan ahead. Nothing feels jarring or sudden.
Choose a neutral location
Custody exchanges can also be harder if the child feels like they’re getting dropped off or picked up when they would rather not be. It can help to choose a neutral location, such as the school, for all of these exchanges. It may be easier for them if they just feel like the other parent is going to pick them up at the end of the school day.
Take your time
In some cases, children will adjust better if you just take your time with the exchange. Stay and talk to them for a little bit, and help them get settled in. If you just drop them off and drive away, that can make it more difficult because they don’t have time to mentally adjust to being in a new situation.
As you and your co-parent navigate this process, make sure that you are always well aware of the legal rights that you have as a parent.