We get it. The few hours of parenting time you’ve been given on one or two days a week just doesn’t seem like enough. You want more time with your kids, and who could blame you? (We certainly don’t – we’re parents, so we understand completely!) But here’s the fact of the matter – there are definitely steps you can take to try and get more time with your children, but that takes time and doesn’t come with any guarantee that you’ll get what you want. (Not that you should give up!) But there are things you can do right now to maximize the time you do have with your children. And making the most of what you have is always a good idea!
Tips for increasing the quality of your parenting time:
Be present in the moment.
You don’t get much time with your kids so you need to treat the time you do have as sacred. Turn off your phone, don’t deal with any work related issues if you can avoid it, and don’t have friends or partners with you while you’re with your children. Look at them. Ask them questions and listen to their answers. If at all possible, carve out this time as unavailable for anything else, and don’t let distractions or problems intrude on your time together. You don’t get much so the little you have should be treated as precious. That way you truly are maximizing every minute you get to spend together.
Attitude is everything!
You may have had a bad day, or maybe your ex drives you bonkers, setting you off with snarky remarks every time you pick up the kids, but you have to put that aside while you’re with your kids. No kid is going to want to spend time with someone who’s mad and grumpy all the time, so ‘stash the trash’ and make sure that every minute you spend with your kids is spent being your best you. Even if they’re grouchy, your positive attitude will eventually rub off. Think about how much you love your child, and what a privilege it is to be with them (even if it’s only for a short time). Because you do, and it is!
Togetherness matters most.
Obviously you want your time with your kids to be fun, to be memorable and enjoyable. But let’s be honest – what you do during that time should matter less than the fact that you’re together. So if you want to take your kids to the zoo, or to the movies, or out to dinner, that’s great. Enjoy yourself! But remember, you don’t have to fill that time with activities, or make it all about spending a bunch of money. The most important thing is that you’re together, and that every minute of your time is focused on your kids. So stay home and watch a movie, take a walk in the park with the dog, or hang out at the library. What you do is less important than making sure your time together is relaxing and enjoyable for you both.
If you want more parenting time with your kids, come and talk to us.
As we said before, you do have options if you want more time with your children. We understand that the handful of hours allocated to many non-custodial parents can feel like a drop in the bucket compared to what your ex has. And that’s painful. So if you’d like to see more of your kids, call 866 766 5245 and come talk to our skilled and experienced family law attorneys. We are available 24/7 to help you figure out all of your custody and divorce-related issues in mid-Michigan.