Smooth Transition Tips
Doing It Right
Help kids shift back and forth between homes with these tips for smooth transitions.
- Be true to a school.
If possible, make a deal with your exes to stay in the same school district or as close as you can. You'll save lots of driving time and make it easier for all parents to help with everything from middle-of-the-day tummy aches to chaperoning field trips.
- Start traditions.
The initial hour or so after a switch is often rife with meltdowns. Make it a ritual to walk the dog or play on the swings so the kids can blow off steam.
- Use a mom/dad calendar.
Toddlers and preschoolers typically miss absent parents more acutely. Mark Mom and Dad time with different colors so they can count the days.
- Say Goodnight via Skype.
Invite an absent parent to read the kids a virtual bedtime story.
- Give them a piece of you.
If a child seems apprehensive or tearful when saying goodbye, hand him something that belongs to you. ("Hey, will you hold my scarf until Sunday?")
- Get a door-side duffle.
"Blended" kids are famous for forgetting a favorite toy, soccer gear, or homework at the other parent's house. Develop a catch-all system by the front door, and make a pact with kids and exes to try to handle "Oh, no, I forgot my ____ again" days with humor.
Originally published in the November 2011 issue of Parents magazine.