Tips when children move between two
Send a link to a friend
By Ellie McCann
If you have children who are living in two households,
there are many things to consider when helping them though each transition,
especially during holidays or other vacation breaks.
Understanding a child's temperament and
how she or he deals with change can affect how you as a parent
should react and respond during transition times. Is your child an
easy child -- one who responds well to change?
Is she a difficult child who resists
change and lets you know it? Or, is he a slow-to-warm-up child who
needs more time to get used to new situations? In thinking about
your child's temperament, here are some tips on moving between two
their anxiety is probably due to a new routine. If they show
anxiety before going to the other parents, it may last only until
they are actually on the road or in the home of the other parent.
Don't assume they don't want to go. Explain to your children how
long they will be with the other parent. A calendar is helpful to
show when they are with both parents. Some children need more
details regarding their schedule, and others just need to know the
basics. Keep this in mind, especially when the plan deviates from
the regular schedule. Reassure your children. Let them know that
both parents love them. Tell them you will never leave them.
positively about the time they'll be spending with the other
parent. It will help them to see the importance and know it is OK
to go. If you know your child will be celebrating a special family
event with the other parent, it's important to help the child make
or buy a gift or card so he or she can add to the occasion.
[to top of second
column in this article]
your children during a natural transition time in their day. A
time before or after an activity is a time they are used to
"switching gears." This will cut down on transition time overall
for your child and may prevent some unnecessary stress.
this transition time, avoid starting an argument with the other
parent. If you cannot see one another without conflict, find a
place such as your child's school, day care, a relative or a
trusted friend for transitions. Do not make your children
messengers. Find a time, place or method to communicate with the
other parent when the children aren't there.
focus on your children. When you ask about time spent in the other
home, your questions should focus on what they have done and how
they have spent their time while they were away. Be careful not to
belittle how they spent their time, because you will undermine
your child's relationship with both of you. You will all be
happier and more secure when you keep the focus on your own
family, rather than on what the other parent is doing.
[Ellie McCann, University
of Minnesota Extension Service]
Ellie McCann is a family relations
specialist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service
Regional Center, Moorhead, Minn.