"JUST FOR THIS MORNING..."
Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink and let you teach me how to put that puzzle
of yours together.
Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you were concerned.
Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.
Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both Happy Meals so you can
have both toys.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours and miss my favorite TV shows.
Just for this evening, when I sit beside you as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
And when I kiss you goodnight, I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer... and I will thank God for you and ask him for nothing, except one more day...... Author Unknown
What to do today?? Amusement parks and shopping are fun, but there are so many other activities to plan with your children. Some cost money and some don't! Be creative, consider what your children like to do, what is appropriate for their age, and whether you will enjoy participating with them as well! If you have ideas to submit, feel free to email them to me at Laurie@LtaFamilyLaw.com . But here is my list of ideas. Only you can decide what is right for you and your children (no responsiblity assumed by me for your choices):
READ to and with your children. Even when my daughter started to read, she was still happy when I read a chapter or so to her. Then, she continued on reading herself and I read next my own book next to her! We both read our book and we enjoy being together as well!!
Go: to the park, beach, ice rink, bowling, neighborhood basketball or tennis courts, library, museums (most have monthly "free" days where you can go for free), outdoor concerts.....
Create: Bake, cook, garden, draw, paint pictures, sculpt (playdough or sculpy), build a cardboard castle, a hopscotch grid with chalk, sew a simple pillow (give it a shape like a heart, star, doll, dog, etc.), crochet, knit, build a house of cards or a gingerbread house...
Play: cards, music and dance, board games, chess or checkers, instruments, charades, I Spy, hula hoops, jump rope, sports....
Take a parent and me class -- many offerings are all over at art studios, dance studios, theatre for children, etc.
The internet is a great resource for finding things to do in your area. In your browser type words relating to activities for children (with your city or area to narrow your geographical search), such as free concerts, shows, music, art, dance classes, youth sports, etc.
Your children should cherish the time with you and you should too! I encourage my clients to be positive with their children, to be supportive of the fact that their children are shuttled between parents, often with two very distinct homes and home lives.
You and the other parent invariably run different kinds of households, with different rhythms and expectations for the time the children are in your custody. Both you and your children will have a higher quality experience with each other if you try to respect and honor the differences, as well as encourage the relationships your children have with BOTH of their parents.
Every parent has their own style of parenting, and yours may be different from the other parent. Your child will likely benefit from the different personalities and approaches to life that they learn from each parent. This is not to say that you should condone unacceptable behavior in the other household and if you have concerns, you should raise them with your attorney.
When your children are in your custody, avoid using the time to ask them about the other parent, or comparing and contrasting. Try not to send messages to the other parent through your children and if you have an issue with the other parent, find a way to resolve that issue with the other parent that does NOT involve commenting and/or criticizing that parent in front of your children. Children, whether they are young or they are adults, do not want to be "in the middle" of their parents.
Children are torn by the disputes of the parents and they do not want to take sides but also do not want to let their parents down. Childen should never be asked by one parent where they want to live because the child does not want to hurt the feelings of either. "Do you want to live with me or 'mom/dad'?" is a question which I advise my clients should be avoided.
Cherish your children. Support their activities, know what is going on with their school activities and schoolwork, respect their need for continuity in activities notwithstanding their living at both your home and the other parent. If you have questions about how to best parent, seek the advice of the professionals in your child's life, including their teachers, daycare providers, pediatricians, therapists, religious advisors, and the like.
Many of my client's have talked to me about what to do with their children when they only have custody of them on weekends or evening "dinner" visits. Other clients are frustrated because they feel that the parent who has the weekend visit does "nothing" with the children. So what to do? I suggest a combination approach in which you try to have a routine at your home that the kids know and can depend on when they are in your custody. Focus on what is needed in your household, what needs your children have, and how you can maximize the "quality" in your time.
First: What activities do your children have? With school age children, their main job is school and they need you to show them that this is a priority. Make sure your children have a place to do their homework when they are with you, be aware of what they are doing and let them know you are there if they need help. If during the week you have a dinner visit and your kids have homework to work on, suggest a visit to the local public library where you can be together while they work on their homework, and then grab a bite to eat afterward. If they have extra curricular activities, such as soccer, birthday parties, dance class, etc., honor your children's involvement in their activities and friendships by allowing them to participate in these events when it is your custodial time. Just like all events, if they conflict with an event which takes priority, a special family event for example, then let them know, in advance, that you and they will have other plans and explain to them how you have prioritized. If you cannot take them to an activity because of a commitment you have at that time, such as needing to work, see if someone else can take them, even
if it is the other parent. Your children will appreciate your efforts to support the things that are important
to their lives.
Second: It's true what they say!! They DO grow up so fast! Before you know it, they'll be teenagers and then adults, with little time for hanging out with mom and dad. Try to engage your children when it is your custodial time and look for activities that both you and your kids will enjoy and will encourage the bonds between you and your children. Such activities will also complement the time you are not together by creating topics of conversation, about what you did do on the last visit and your plans for the next. Organize your schedule so that you can maximize the quality of your time when it is your weekend! If you are not sure what to do with them and/or you feel that you do not want to engage in costly activities on your weekend, not to worry! There are so many ways to spend time with your children! Watch a DVD together, shop and cook a meal together, play a board or card game, teach them how to play chess, follow a recipe, go to the park! Check the Resources page for some ideas. Please note, I have provided these only to give you some ideas and and food for thought. I assume no liability for any activity sought or engaged in or any results therefrom.
Third: When you are not with your kids: Make sure you call them pursuant to the agreement you have with the other parents. Don't forget or blow it off! I frequently hear from clients that their children don't seem to want to talk to them when they call. Try to keep you focus on your kids and don't take it personally! As parents we have to remember that so much of what we do is not for us, but FOR OUR CHILDREN! So focus on how what you do benefits your children, and in the end that will benefit you and make you a better parent! In my humble opinion, most kids do not like to talk on the phone! (until they are teens and then the talking is to their friends!) BUT know that it still means something to them that YOU call them, e-mail them, text them, etc. Your communication with your children lets them know, consciously or not, that they are LOVED!! If they do not want to talk, or they just give you one word answers to your questions, remember that your interest in them is more important than their answers. You can follow up with them for more details when they are in your custody. But when you do call and ask them about school or their sport/dance/other activity, it lets them know you love them! It lets them know that they are so important to you and loved by you and that you are thinking of them, even when they are not with you.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
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