Parents need to be able communicate well with each other to make clear arrangements that everyone understands, to be able to discuss any issues about the children and to make joint decisions. This means the children will feel more secure and there are fewer opportunities for them to play their parents off against each other.
It is important to have a system in place that works for both parents and children. A clear routine means that everyone knows when the children are with mum and when they’re with dad. There will obviously need to be some flexibility, e.g. school holidays, Christmas, birthdays to ensure both parents get to spend those special times with the children. Having a clearly defined routine in place will ensure the children feel more secure.
Child centred arrangements
The arrangements you make for your children should be centred around them, taking into account their likes, dislikes, hobbies and individual needs. Ensure they know that both parents love them equally and both want to spend time with them.
It is inevitable that things will go wrong from time to time but the important thing is to remain calm. Being exposed to conflict will lead to children feeling insecure and anxious. Don’t blame the other parent when things go wrong.
It is important to review the arrangements regularly to ensure they are still working for all parties. As children get older, their interests change and that means the routine they have with their parents needs to change too. Changes in your work patterns or a house move may also lead to the arrangements having to be reviewed. Try to sit down and talk to each other to work things out between you.