When your children move from your home to your ex's or back again, things can be stressful. Every custody exchange can be a big adjustment for them, and they are counting on you to help them through it.
Here are several ways that you can take the stress out of transitions:
Avoid difficult conversations with your ex
One of the most important things to remember in these times is that you shouldn't try to discuss difficult matters with your ex. The transition between parents should be low-key and as pleasant as possible for the kids. Trying to force your ex to talk to you about contentious matters can quickly change the situation into a negative one.
Establish a routine way of handling the exchange
Another thing to remember is that how you change custody of the children matters. Older children might not care whether they are dropped off or picked up, but younger children might need to have a consistent arrangement. Typically, it is better for the parent who has the child to drop them off to the other parent. This lets the child adjust to the change that's coming on the way there.
Be conscious of your child's feelings of loss
Once you have your child at your home, pay close attention to what they are doing. Give them time to settle in, but don't allow them to brazenly break the rules. You might notice that they seem to miss their absent parent. You might suggest a phone call so that the kids can talk to the absent parent for a bit to ease their sense of loss.
Ideally, the terms of your custody exchanges should be covered in your parenting plan. That way, both you and your ex-spouse know what is expected -- which, in turn, can make it easier to help your children through the process. If custody exchanges seem to be constantly fraught with difficulty, it may be time to seek your attorney's advice about your rights and option.