If your visitations with your children are required to be supervised, you likely feel a good deal of pressure to make them go well so that you can eventually be granted unsupervised visitation rights and eventually even shared custody. You may be allowed to have the visits in your home with another adult (a family member or perhaps a social worker or therapist) present. You may have to go to a designated facility where other parents and children are spending time together.
Whatever the situation, it’s easy to let the pressure overwhelm you. However, it’s important to relax as much as possible and enjoy this time with your kids. It’s even more important for your kids to feel comfortable and have fun. Following are a few tips:
Plan activities geared to the time allotted with your children.
You likely have a set time period for these visits. Plan activities that you can complete within that time. Perhaps you can bring some board games or a small puzzle. If you choose something that can’t be completed, it should be easy for your child to pack up and bring with them next time — like a book.
Choose activities appropriate for your kids’ ages and maturity.
This can be tricky if you’ve got kids of different ages unless you have your visits with them at separate times. If they’re visiting you together, find something they can all enjoy. Older kids might not need to be entertained every minute. They might prefer to just hang out and talk or watch a movie. Let your child choose things that they want to do.
Don’t be upset if a visit doesn’t go as you planned.
These visits can be stressful for kids and parents — particularly at the beginning. Your child may have other things they’d rather be doing at your scheduled visitation time. For whatever reason, they may not be happy to be there or may not want to do anything you have planned. Be understanding and flexible. Don’t cut the visit short because it’s not going as you expected.
Supervised visits can be challenging — particularly if there are trust issues due to past substance abuse or other problems. However, these visits are your road back to establishing a healthy relationship with your kids. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from professionals who are supervising the visits or your family law attorney.