Increase Time With Your Kids Outside of Your Visitation Schedule
Once the parents agree on their parenting plan it is difficult to have it officially changed. If you want to change your child visitation schedule you have to go back to the court and show that the changes are in the best interest of the child. Many times parents want to see their kids more, but don’t necessarily want to change their entire custody agreement. Here are some ideas for increasing communication and time with your children without changing your custody schedule.
- Take advantage of technology. You can get some extra time talking with your child over the internet, texting, webcams, etc. Set up some times with your child to chat online or visit over webcam (this is also a good idea if you live far away from your child). You can also send your child text messages through the day–this is a good way to check in with a teenager or tween to see how they’re doing.
- Send an email. Depending on the age of your child, email can be a great way to communicate with them. You can send emails back and forth to keep current on the happenings in your child’s life. This lets you be more up to date when you have your visits.
- Volunteer at your child’s school. If you have a few hours a week to spare, go volunteer in your child’s classroom. This is a great way to be more involved in your child’s life and to find out what is going on at school. If you have a skill you can teach, you can offer to teach a mini-class once a week (for example, you could teach a foreign language for an hour, music, art, etc). Most teachers will love having you come in, and your child will love it too.
- Attend extra-curricular activities. Sometimes parents have their custody agreements set up so that the parents switch attendance to extra-curricular activities. If yours is open, you should attend as many as you can. You don’t have to sit or even talk to the child’s other parent, but you can be there to support your child.
- Become the default baby-sitter. You can put a provision in your parenting plan that if the parent who has the child is going to be gone for a certain amount of time (say, four hours) that the other parent gets the chance to take the child before anyone else. Even if you don’t have this in your agreement you can make a deal with the child’s other parent. If you get along, the other parent will probably agree to the idea (provided that you offer the same courtesy to them) and you can get some more time with your child when the other parent has weekend plans. If you don’t get along with the other parent, you may want to see about getting this added to your agreement.
Keeping in touch and having communication with your child is the best way to keep your relationship going. Even if you only get a few visits a month, you can still be involved in your child’s life.