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Tips for easing custody exchanges

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Child Custody |

Going through a custody exchange can be difficult for both parents and children. However, there are things you can do to make these transitions easier for your kids.

There are a few ways to help make exchanges go more smoothly.

Plan ahead

Try to avoid last-minute changes to exchange times or locations. Give plenty of advance notice if a change is necessary. Having a consistent schedule and routine is reassuring for children. Pack any items they will need ahead of time, including clothes, toys and medications so you do not forget anything in the stress of the moment. Arrive a few minutes early so you are not rushing them.

Keep things neutral

Focus on your child during the exchange rather than engaging with the other parent. Model calm, polite behavior even if tensions run high. Avoid criticizing the other parent in front of your child. If needed, communicate regarding pick-ups and drop-offs over text or email to minimize direct interaction. These exchanges are not the time or place to get into conflicts.

Make it quick

Long, drawn-out exchanges can heighten anxiety. Once the physical exchange occurs, try to get your child focused on something fun you have planned rather than rehashing the details of the hand-off. Whether going out for ice cream or watching a new movie at home, have an engaging activity ready to distract them from any custody stress they may feel.

By being consistent, neutral and moving things along quickly, you can reduce tension around custody exchanges. Staying child-focused in these moments will help limit negative impacts on their well-being. Managing exchanges calmly despite difficulties shows children they are more important than any inter-parental conflicts in these difficult situations.


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