Parents who feel like they don’t have enough time with their children often seek out ways that they can actively work to connect with them. This is something often considered by busy parents — those long hours at the office add up — but it’s also an issue for divorced parents. If you only have your kids from 30% to 50% of the time, you must do what you can to make that time count.
One of the best ways to do it is to have family meals. If you have to, ban cellphones. Don’t eat in front of the TV or while you’re thinking about work. Take this half-hour out of every day with the children to really engage them in conversation. Ask them about their day. Find out what they did at school. Forge a relationship and show them that you care about what is happening with them.
You also want to get rid of distractions in daily life. Have a conversation in the car instead of listening to the radio. Read a book before bed instead of watching TV.
The overall key is focus. You have plenty of time to yourself when the kids are with your ex. When they’re with you, focus on them. Do the things they enjoy. Be an active participant in their lives. You may only see them half of the time, but you can connect better with this focus than some parents who see their kids 100% of the time.
Your custody schedule is critical after divorce. Be sure you know what options you have to keep strong relationships with your children.