Tips to Get Involved in Your Child’s Activities

Did you know that having a child involved in after school and extra-curricular activities will help them have a boost in their academic performance? Many parents who are not together find it difficult to maintain involvement in their children’s activities. The reason being that when a child is split between two homes, they might not have a stable enough schedule to be able to help their child as much as they need.

When it comes to being involved, both parents need to realize that it is important to work together. They need to create a plan that allows for them to both be involved in activities that are part of the child’s life.

Things to Consider When Getting Involved with Your Child’s Activities

Time Management

Whether you have custody of your child or not, you will need to take steps to make sure that you are managing your time well. You do not want to show up late or miss things that you are supposed to attend with your child. So, make sure that you develop a clear system with your ex so that you can both be involved and that your child has the support that they need with all activities.

Discover New Interests Together

There are so many things that you can discover about yourself and your child through developing new interests together. One of the great things about being involved is that you can find out new interests for yourself too. If your child loves being in a band, you can discover some new music together. If your child loves playing a certain sport, you can spend time watching that sport together or practicing. There are so many things that you can discover by taking the time to enjoy your child’s interests with them and look for new ones.

Contribute Together

You will also find that you can work with your child on developing character. You can do this by contributing to the community together. Volunteer or do something civic together that will inspire others and create important traits in your child such as charity, selflessness, sympathy and compassion. By taking the time to get to know one another and how you can make great changes together, you are teaching your child that they can change the world.

Help Teach Your Child to Set Goals

One of the most valuable gifts that you can give your child is to teach them how to set appropriate goals. When you are involved with your child’s activities, you can help them learn how they are supposed to set goals. Many children try to set goals that are too high for them to accomplish. Work with your child to set reasonable goals that will be achievable for them.

Easy Ways to Maintain Involvement

Start In Court

You can’t maintain your involvement in your child’s activities without first making sure that you have the right to be involved. Many parents do not factor in activities when planning their divorces. Make sure that you talk about what activities you have been active in during your divorce. Try to divide the activities so that your child’s life remains as balanced as it was when you were together.

Keep Schedules Easy to Understand

A key for consistent involvement in your child’s activities is scheduling. Make sure that your schedules are clear and easy to understand. When you do this, it makes it easier not to forget or miss things that you are supposed to be at with your child.

Communicate Changes

Even parents that are together know that one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to miss one of your child’s activities that you were supposed to attend. That being said, life happens and sometimes things come up that will keep you from attending a child’s activity. When this happens, the first thing you should do is find a family member who can attend in your place. Even if you have to contact your ex, it is in your child’s best interest to have someone there for them.

You will both benefit when you follow through with visits and spending time enjoy your child’s activities with them. Your child gains additional time with both parents doing something enjoyable, while you get to enjoy spending time with your child. Another great benefit to children is knowing that they remain important to both of their parents. Plus, the parents get to enjoy learning something new about their child. There are many other benefits that you too will find as you get more involved in your child’s life.

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How to Talk to Your Child About Custody Arrangements

Going through a divorce can be very stressful for all parties involved, including the children. Many times parents forget that this process is just as hard, if not harder, on their children then it is them. Child custody is often the hardest part of your divorce because it involves the wellbeing and happiness of your children, who usually don’t understand the complexity of divorce, and are more deeply affected by the breaking apart of their family.

One of the things that is important for parents who are going through a divorce is to sit down and talk to their children. Even if this conversation is difficult, it is necessarty. If the children are old enough, you should also consider seeking their opinions on where they are going to live and how they will spend time with the other parent. Since your child is going to be going through some pretty significant changes in their life as a result of divorce, they need to be adequately prepared for them.

Steps to Talk to Your Child About Child Custody

Step 1 – Know How to Talk to Your Child

Remember to speak to your child with appropriate language that they can understand. Your child might not even know what the word “custody” means, so you may need to use different phrases to explain this in terms they understand. You also should avoid sharing more information than they need. Instead, just give them the basic facts that are going to directly affect them.

Step 2 – Avoid Saying Bad Things About the Other Parent

One of the biggest mistakes (and one that is one of the hardest to avoid) parents make in the divorce process is to say bad things about the other parent. Whether the things are true or not, hearing bad things about their mother or father may cause the child to think poorly of the other parent. Saying bad things about your ex to your child can also backfire and ruin your own relationship with your child.

Step 3 – Point Out the Things That Stay the Same

Another thing that you should do is take the time that you need to point out things that are the same, even after the divorce is final. This will help your children to feel secure. They will need this feeling of security so that they are better equipped to handle all of the intense emotions and feelings that they might not be able to understand.

Step 4 – Validate Their Feelings and Emotions

Even if you do not agree with the way that your child feels, you should validate the feelings that they have. Your children could be hurt, scared, sad, angry, or any other mix of emotions. Being able to understand why they feel these things, and knowing how to assure your child that you will be there for them is very important in cases of divorce. This will give your child confidence and allow them to know that their feelings matter.

Step 5 – Allow Questions

The big rule of thumb with allowing your child to ask questions is to have guidelines for what is appropriate. You should never share information about what happened in your marriage to make the two of you separate. Instead, you should only answer questions that are important for your child to know. Let them know that you love them and that the divorce is in no way their fault.

Going through a divorce is hard for everyone involved. Far too often parents forget about how their decision is affecting their children. By talking with your children, you allow them to express their emotions and feel validated which is a healthy process of being able to let go and move on.

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Tips for Being Involved When Living in Another State

In an ideal world, children would always live in the same state as both of their parents. In today’s world this is not the case. In some circumstances jobs or the presence of extended family can influence a judge’s decision to allow a child to move out of state. When this happens, one parent is left living quite some distance from their child. This could cause unrepairable damage to the child’s relationship with that parent, but in some cases it does not have to.

Tips to Stay Involved with Miles Between

Pick Up the Phone or Use Video Chat

Staying in touch doesn’t always have to mean seeing someone in person. Today there are tons of options for being able to communicate with your child or even to use a video chat system with them. This type of communication allows you to talk to them regardless of where you are. The great thing about video chat options is that they allow for your child to see you while you are talking. This is especially helpful with younger children or children with attention issues. Just because there are miles between you does not mean that you cannot communicate with your children on a regular basis and have the relationship that you have always dreamed of.

Send Pictures Regularly

Another thing that you can do on a regular basis is send pictures to your children. You can print them or send them digitally. Talk with the other parent and ask that they send you pictures of different activities that your child is involved in as well as day-to-day life. If you do not feel like your ex is willing to communicate with you well enough for this, try and get this included as a stipulation in your paperwork per the custody agreement.

Use Email to Your Advantage

Older children will enjoy being able to email you rather than talking. It can also help them work on valuable skills like typing. Another fun thing with email is that you can send emails to younger children too. You can send e-cards or other fun things that will give your children a little smile for the day.

Consider Sending Postcards

One thing that most children love getting is mail. Postcards are a great way to send a little note and let your kids know that you are thinking about them. Finding postcards is pretty easy no matter where you live. There are even some fun ones that allow you to create your own postcard or give your child a picture to color when it arrives. Doing things like this are simple and small but can mean a world of difference to your children.

Think About Sharing Videos

Sharing videos is a great way to be able to see your children do things and for your children to see you! Create a YouTube account for each of you, so that you can share videos. YouTube has privacy settings that limit publicity so that no one can see them except for those who are intended to (you and your children). This is important to note, since many people do not realize just how safe some of these social media sites can be. Furthermore, sharing videos is a way for you to be a part of events that you are missing and allows your child to see you engage with them, even though it’s from a distance. If you are not someone who has a particularly interesting job, you can take videos of yourself doing silly things that your children will enjoy. You can also take videos of yourself reading your child’s favorite book so that they can watch it when they are missing you.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Surprise

Surprises are a great way to show your children that you care, even when you cannot be with them. And they do not have to be big. A padded envelope can hold a few small pieces of candy or something as simple as a pencil and stickers. You can really brighten your child’s day if they have been missing you with a great little surprise in the mail. You never know, they might even repay the favor with a sweet surprise of their own like a picture that they have drawn for you.

Consider Home Deliveries

Talk to your ex and find out a night when you can send pizza for dinner. Consider finding some place to send donuts for breakfast or sweet treats from time to time, too. This type of small gesture is one that can show that you are having thoughts about them and can impact them in a BIG way.

Being far apart is hard for both you and your child. You can stay close to your child and have the relationship that you have always dreamed of.

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How to Prepare for Your First Out of State Trip with Your Child

So, you have your child and you want to go out of state with them for a vacation or to visit family… no problem, right? The answer is both yes and no. You will not have any problems if you take the right steps that will inform your child’s other parent where you will be. However, if you do not take the necessary steps to share your plans with them, then you could potentially face kidnapping charges for crossing state lines.

So How Do You Know What You Have to Do?

Check Your Court Papers

The first thing that you should do is check your court papers. You should look for the provisions for dealing with situations involving travel. Some court papers actually specify what you have to do when traveling out of town. Others simply give guidelines. Yet there are some that do not dictate travel at all. By checking your court papers first, you will be able to ensure that you follow all steps.

Write Your Plan Down

Next, you will find that you need to write your plans down on paper. When you are writing out your plans, you should make sure to take special care to decide all of your details prior to traveling. First, make sure that you have travel dates and times. If you are driving, have a list of your goals and hotels if you are stopping along the way. Also make sure that your lodging information is included in the paperwork.

Talk with Your Ex

While it might be uncomfortable to talk with your ex about your travel plans, it is important that you do so and include all travel information and discuss potential plans. This does not mean that you have to give your ex an extremely detailed itinerary, but let them know that you will be doing appropriate activities and provide information about where you will be staying. Make sure that you are clear with your intentions to have a good time and let them know your dates of travel early on if you have to agree together on the time your child will spend with you.

Get Prepared for Travel

No one wants to have a bad time traveling. Make sure that you are prepared with age-appropriate activities for your child while you are traveling. If you are going to be flying, have things ready for your child to do during the flight. If you are going to be driving, make sure that you have plenty of games and activities available for your child’s entertainment on the road. Take the time to prepare and come up with fun ideas and things that will make the trip easier. This will make your first travel out of town better overall. Plus, it will help increase the likelihood that you will all arrive in a good mood.

Understand Your Child’s Travel Needs

Realize that you are not traveling alone. Understand that children have different needs when traveling than adults do. Also, remember that some children are good about traveling while others are not. This will help alleviate tension and stress which will make it easier as you take your trip.

Traveling for the first time out of state can be smooth and easy. Just make sure that you take the time to do everything that you are supposed to before you are traveling. By following the rules outlined in your child custody agreement and being well prepared, you will be able to enjoy your trip out of town with your child.

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How to Coordinate Extra-Curricular Activities When Your Ex Lives in Another Area

One of the toughest things when your children are growing up in two different households is how the extra-curricular activities will be handled. Children want to be involved in sports and other activities but this will require a commitment from the two parents. You will have to have to work together to be able to ensure that your child gets to do the things that he or she most enjoys.

When at all possible, a child should be kept in the same area as both of his/her parents. However, when it comes to finding a good job or being able to provide and care for the child there are times when parents have to move further apart. If this happens and you find that you are living away from your ex with your child or that your child is living away from you with your ex, there are some things that you should consider.

First and foremost, priority should be placed on what your child wants. Even if your child is not legally able to go to court and determine where they want to live, their opinion on the matter should be taken into account. Children often want to stay where they have friends and where things are familiar. If you cannot find a job where your child has been growing up, this could be particularly hard for them.

Activities vs. Visitation

Of course each parent wants to be a part of their child’s life and wants to be able to spend time with their child. However, at some point what the child wants also needs to be considered. For example, if you live in an area where there are few activities this is especially something to think about. If both areas offer the same activities, then the child could potentially be registered in different areas for different activities. This would allow your child to have maximum time enjoying what they love and being able to spend time with both parents.

Help Choosing Activities

One thing that parents can do is encourage their children to find the activities that they truly love. Most professionals agree that today’s children are often involved in far too many activities. So asking your child to choose between activities can be a good thing. Try to encourage them with the activities that they naturally excel at rather than focusing on trying to do everything. If there are seasonal activities, the child might consider doing some of them with the non-custodial parent when they are visiting them.

Be Flexible with Visitation

Sure, it might be very difficult for the custodial parent when their child is gone to camp and then gone visiting the other parent. However, since they have the child the majority of the time there is no reason for them to struggle with this decision. Both parents need to work together with visitation schedules to help ensure that your child gets those experiences in life that will shape them, while still being able to see the other parent. Children love both of their parents and it does not matter what happened between those two parents when it comes to the child. Parents need to remember this and work hard to prevent themselves from being part of the problem. Being flexible with visitation will help the child to have the best possible experience and a strong relationship with both of their parents.

In the past, it was far too common for custodial parents to just keep kids busy with activities when they didn’t want their child to see their ex. Instead of fighting, many noncustodial parents chose to not see their children. This ended with these kids lacking in the relationships because they wanted to see their other parents. One of the best things that you can do for your children is to make sure that you work together for a visitation arrangement and extra-curricular activities schedule that will benefit the child. Sometimes you might have to give up something with your child that you think is unfair but doing this will help you to have the best possible relationship with them as they become adults. Your child is not going to remember the things that your ex did to you but they will remember the things that they lost or were put in the middle of.

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