Indiana is one of many states that favors shared parenting arrangements for minor children after divorce or separation, and for good reason: Data compiled by the Institute for Family Studies shows that children who are the product of co-parenting experience better outcomes as far as emotional health, academic performance, self-esteem, relationships with other family members, and other measures. However, you cannot just sit back and achieve these results without putting in some effort. Especially if your child does not live with you, it is critical to have structure, consistency, and meaningful activities as part of your parenting time. Here’s how to do parenting time right so your child looks forward to it as much as you do.
You should not consider your parenting time as starting at the moment your child arrives; your responsibilities actually begin days beforehand when you make a plan for how you will spend your time together. Of course, not every minute will involve fun and games. You are not expected to change your own work schedule or school requirements, but you will be able to incorporate enjoyable activities around them. Jot down an outline about what you must do and want to do, and communicate it to your child. It is smart to involve kids in the planning process, so they have realistic expectations about parenting time.
Put some thought into how you will have fun during parenting time. Your special activities will depend on interests, age, the schedule, and other variable factors, but it is important to show your child how much your time together means to you. You do not need to spend a fortune, either, though the occasional treat is a nice touch. A few ideas for engagement include:
You may note that there are a few items missing from this list and this is intentional. Your parenting time with your child is intended to encourage meaningful bonds and help maintain a strong relationship. To facilitate this objective, put down the phone, power down your laptop, switch off the video games, and hide the TV remote. When you are interacting with electronics, you are not interacting with each other. Work and school may prevent you from unplugging entirely, but avoid using these devices as a substitute for parenting.
While these tips may help you make the most of your parenting time, you may need legal assistance with child support, custody, and visitation. You can trust our attorneys at the Bellinger Law Firm in Fort Wayne, IN to provide knowledgeable, compassionate help with all issues related to minor children. If you would like more information on visitation and parenting time, please contact our office to set up a consultation.
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