Tips to Help with Exchanging your Kids
Your Child’s Other Parent
If possible, start thinking about your ex as your child’s other parent more than your ex-spouse when getting ready for the exchange. Think about making the transition as smooth as you can for your kid’s sake. If conflict with the other parent is issue, consider location alternatives that could work for you. For example, pick-up and drop-off at school or a neutral location could be good options. Think about locations that minimize traffic time for kids, if that creates stress. Change up the times for beginning and end of possession times if there are conflicts like traffic, club activities or sports.
Be the Calm Parent
Be the calm parent. Be the one your kids look to and see an example of how they should react in the face of unexpected behavior by someone else. For example, if the other parent is late, be the calm parent. If you are late or going to be late, be the calm parent and notify your ex that you’ll be late as soon as possible. When things don’t go smoothly be the example for your kids and remain calm.
Don’t rehash your divorce issues.
If the other parent wants to do that, don’t engage. There is nothing good that is going to come from getting pulled into talking about a divorce issue with your ex while your kids are there with the both of you. If you have an issue, wait until another time. Wait until you are each able to talk, without distraction and without involving your kids.
Kids are going to feel torn between their parents at some point. Focus on your kids during the exchange and send them off with good wishes! Be the positive one no matter which direction your kids are going. Help them stay confident in you as a parent. They don’t need to feel like they are taking care of your emotional health.
You never know when the other parent’s issue could be yours. The situation could be reversed almost every time when we are talking about exchanges. There are so many things that are out of your control- traffic, weather, teachers, coaches and your kids.