If you don’t have primary custody of your children after divorce, you may find yourself struggling to stay connected to them and their lives. This frayed connection can even happen when parents share custody 50-50. In that 50% of the time your kids aren’t with you, you can miss out on a lot
Let’s look at some ways that you can continue to have a close relationship with your children regardless of how limited your time may be with them.
First, it helps to have a positive relationship with your co-parent. This will encourage them to share information about your kids that they might keep to themselves otherwise.
Parents should always share information about school and extracurricular events as well as medical issues, troubles with teachers or friends and any behavioral or emotional problems your kids might be experiencing. This will also help the two of you develop and enforce rules consistently across your two households, which can be a source of comfort to kids — no matter how much they might complain about them.
Don’t just find out about your kids’ events and activities. Show up for them. Spelling bees, science fairs, softball games, martial arts tournaments, recitals and plays are all a big part of kids’ lives. They notice which parents show up consistently. These things also give you more to talk about when you’re together.
Don’t forget to have fun. Even though this may be a sad time in everyone’s life, it’s essential to spend some of your time together doing things your kids enjoy. Even if you’re still struggling to get your life together, there’s no reason you can have a movie night at home or spend an afternoon in the park or a museum. You might want to ask them to invite a new friend you haven’t met yet.
Make the most of technology. Even if you aren’t able to be together as much as you like, there are plenty of ways you can video chat, talk and message each other. If you’re going to be a long-distance parent or if you aren’t going to see your kids as much as you’d like, you may want to seek to have provisions included in your custody and visitation agreement that detail how often and by what means you can communicate with them. Your family law attorney can help you do that.