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Handling Visitations after Divorce
by Kim Hess

It is often difficult to make the transition from living with your children everyday to having a limited set schedule.  However, just because the living arrangements have changed doesn't mean that your parent-child relationship will change.  There may be adjustments, but the tips below will help make the changes go smoother for everyone.

Don't Entertain

The job of a parent is not to constantly entertain and amuse their children.  When living with your child everyday you did not do this. So why start now? Being comfortable with your child is the most important thing.  It doesn't matter what you are doing as long as the
time is being spent together.

Your Home is Their Home

Make sure your child is comfortable in your home.  Give them a room or space of their own and encourage them to arrange and decorate this area as they choose.  Also, refer to your house or apartment as "our home".  This encourages your child to feel that wherever you live is
always their home as well, even if they don't live there all the time.

Continue Normalcy

Don't feel you must do anything out of the ordinary that wasn't done before. If you didn't always go to Disneyland every Saturday morning, don't do it now. Continue to live life in the same routine that you and your child are accustomed to.  Start your morning the same, eat,
play, and watch TV together.  Make sure your child has chores and responsibilities around the home, just as they did when you lived together full time.

Going Out

Expand your child's horizons by planning outings they are interested in.  Try something new like visiting a museum or ice skating.  This is also a good time to visit family and friends to remain connected.  One outing or event is all that is necessary during a short visit. Remember to encourage stability by doing routine things with your
child such as grocery shopping and running errands.

The word visitation implies that you and your child are just visiting and not a part of each other's normal life.  Get rid of this thought and relax.  Realize that even though divorce has occurred between the parents, your relationship with your child can be just as strong, if not stronger, for the future.

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