Sharing Custody: How to Keep Kids Comfortable

By Amanda Lin

Having two places to call home can cause confusion and be a major adjustment to children. This is especially true when a family is going through a separation or divorce. Sharing custody and moving into a new household can severely change a child’s routine, causing them to feel disrupted and in most cases, upset or disoriented. Coupling these two changes together will often result in a challenging time for everyone. Luckily, there a few things that you can do to help smooth this transition.

Here are 4 ways to keep your kids comfortable in two homes when sharing custody.

4 Tips to Help Your Kids Adjust to Two Households

Before we dive into the tips, it’s important to mention this key information and advice. While you and your former spouse may be experiencing an array of arguments and custody agreements, it’s important to stay united around and in front of your children. Kids pick up on things rather quickly and will know when there is tension or anger in the air. This can cause them to act out in anger as well.

You should always show respect to the other parent when you are doing a drop off at their household. Try not to belittle their activities, living circumstances, or decisions. Your child will pick up on the disrespect and could react in an unfavorable way.

Lastly, never use your child as a medium for communication. Try to avoid using them to relay messages or using them as a way to find out information on your ex. Speak directly to the other parent to mediate any issues or concerns.

Tip 1: Get Your Child Involved

Transform the idea of moving from fear to fun by letting your child have a say in their new bedroom if you are the parent who has moved out. Allow them to pick out the colors of their walls, decor, and bed sheets. This will help build their excitement about visiting their new room. Doing this will also allow your child to feel as if they have more control in the situation. This is important since everything else around them is changing without their consent.

Tip 2: Give the Room Some Familiarity

Too much newness can be a bit daunting and overwhelming for a child. Help them adjust to their new surroundings by bringing or repurchasing a few of their favorite toys or decor pieces from home. This will help them feel more comfortable and more at home. If possible, talk to your ex about items that could easily be transported between homes. Packing a few of their favorite toys is often a good solution to this problem.

Tip 3: Establish a Consistent Calendar

Since your child’s routine has been disrupted, the first thing to do is try to give them a new one. Establish a clear and consistent calendar with the other parent and work hard not to switch off any days. Your child should have an exact idea of when they will see you next so that they can get excited and ready to change households. Help your child feel more secure by having a dependable schedule.

Tip 4: Don’t Compete With One Another

If you’re the parent who remains at the original home, it may be hard to hear your child talk about their new room, home, or neighborhood. Don’t use this as an opportunity to compete with your ex. Which means you shouldn’t give your child’s room a makeover or buy them new toys. Your child doesn’t need anymore change right now.

Alternatively, you should try to offer words of support and excitement to your child when they tell you about their new room at their other parent’s home. This is part of putting your child first and showing them that you and your ex will always be united when it comes to them.

Remember, during tough times like these, reassurance is key. Constantly remind your child of your love and support for them. Transitioning into a sharing custody routine will not be easy on either of you, but following these tips will make the process easier.

“Amanda Lin is a content writer, currently writing for Steven D. Miller, P.A. She has written about personal relationships, technology, and music for a variety of verticals. In her free time, she loves to travel, go hiking, and try new restaurants.”