Divorce is a tricky thing for all parties involved. However, many times parents are so focused on their own needs that they forget about their children’s needs. In some cases, they may try to vie for the attention of their kids by purchasing large gifts or using them as a pawn to get what they want.
As a responsible parent, you would never want to do something like that. Whether you are the custodial parent or just get weekends doesn’t matter. You need to make sure that every minute counts. So, if you only have your children on the weekend, how can you make it fun and stress-free? Here are some tips for quality family time.
1. Have Activities Planned
Sure, after any divorce, your children are going to have lots of questions. Rather than giving them too much idle time to sit and think, have something fun planned. Some downtime is appropriate, but you need to have something fun planned too. Having fun doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton of money either. You should know what your child likes and what they dislike. Even if it’s playing a board game, do something that makes him or her smile. Focus on the positive and less on the negative.
2. Find Time to Talk
While you don’t want to make the whole time you spend about the divorce and how things went wrong, make sure that you have time to talk to your child. Even if they don’t want to talk about family stuff, you need to find out what’s going on in his or her life. Keeping the doors of communication open is advantageous. How are they doing in school, and do they have a new friend or love interest? Encourage them to talk about whatever they need to. You are at a disadvantage if you only see them on weekends, but you need to make sure they know you are still there for them.
3. Do Something They Love
The adult idea of fun usually isn’t head banging at a rock concert. However, your child may feel like that is the best thing in the world. Sometimes, as a parent, you must sacrifice and do something that your child will love. They probably accompany you to many things that they don’t like too. It may not be a concert, but find something that allows them to make memories. Take plenty of pictures and a few selfies to document the trip.
4. Be Sure to Have Bonding Time
While a concert or a trip to the mall is fun, it won’t necessarily bring you closer together. In most cases, bonding comes from sharing your heart with each other. Part of going through a divorce is talking about all the emotions going on. Even working together on a school project can make a huge difference as your child will feel that he or she still receives all the support they need – while you will get the chance to be more present in their life.
5. Reassure Them of Your Love
One of the most significant problems with the breakup of a marriage is that children often feel confused. Some children may feel that they were the cause of the union ending. Others may feel like you don’t love them anymore if they only get to see you for short periods of time.
Try to reassure your child of your love. If you must tell him or her ten times while they are with you that weekend, make sure they know that your divorce is not their fault. They must know that your love for them is unwavering. Problems between parents always affect a child. It’s up to you whether you let it change your relationship with your child.
Making the Time Spent Memorable
You want every moment you spend with your child to count. One of the greatest things you can do for them is to try to maintain a relationship with their other parent. Many ex-couples are still good friends even though their relationship didn’t work. Some even go as far as taking their children on vacation together. If you can work together in that capacity or at least be friendly, then you will help build strong and healthy kids.
On the other hand, even if you and your ex-spouse don’t have the best relationship, never speak ill of them in front of your child. Trying to make the other party look bad may hurt them worse than the divorce. Plus, if your child feels that you are always negative about a person they love, they may dread coming to stay with you. This can make the time you spend together full of angst.
If it helps, make a list of all the things you may want to do with your child. The list can include things like:
•Go Roller Skating
•Watch New Movie On DVR
•Support them with homework and/or visit a museum
•Play That Board Game They Love
•Just Chill and Snuggle on The Couch
Remember, it doesn’t have to be big or break the bank, it just must be enjoyable. Spending time with your child should be a welcomed break from the daily grind, and they should enjoy seeing you as much as you enjoy seeing them. Show them a good time and they won’t be able to wait to come back again.
Author Bio: Sean Blaney is an event planner with a passion for self-development and a healthy, positive lifestyle. He is also the co-founder of CalendarTable, a site that provides, among other information, a highly personalizable calendar printout formats for a better time management.