Supervised visitation is a way to allow a parent to build a healthy foundation for their relationship with their kids in the future, and it also offers an opportunity to heal past issues in an environment that is safe. Because these visits are so important, parents can feel as if everything rides on how these visits go, and the hours or days leading up to a visit can have them worrying about what to say and do when the time comes.
All these factors make it easy for parents to put too much pressure on their children and themselves during a visit, so it’s important to plan your next supervised visit in a way that balances expectations with preparation. To stay level and keep the time spent with your kids positive, here are five things to think about when you’re planning for your supervised visits.
Consider Your Children’s Interests
Supervised visitation places may have some activities available for you to use, but the options usually aren’t ideal. If you can, it’s better to bring along an activity you know your child will be interested in. Don’t leave it to chance; bring a game, book or something else to do that’s made for your child’s passions.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to buy something new each time. There are free resources, such as your local library, that you can use. Spending quality time with your kids is the most important outcome, and for that, you don’t need to have the latest games or toys.
Note the Length of the Visit
What you can accomplish during the visit will depend on how long it’s scheduled to last. Plan activities that will work within the amount of time you have. Stopping in the middle of a game, for example, isn’t the end of the world, but it can add to frustration if it keeps happening each visit. This doesn’t mean activities have to be short, either. You can go with things that are able to be broken down into smaller parts to accommodate the length of time you have. Books can be read by chapter, for example.
Remember Your Child’s Age
Any activities you plan for your visit should be appropriate for your child’s developmental stage and age. Check the ages on any games or media you bring, and keep your child’s temperament in mind as well. With older kids, there’s less of a need to fill each minute with something to do, so it may more fitting to just talk with them instead.
Accept That There Will Be Bumps
No matter how well you plan, there’s always a chance that a visit won’t go how you wanted it to. Emotions, whether they come from you or your child, can work against the perfect visit at times. Work to keep your emotions in check. If you notice that your child is upset or anxious, be empathetic and understanding of how they are feeling. Be flexible with your activities, and bring an alternative just in case.
Don’t Cancel Without Notice or a Reason
It’s crucial you provide the utmost stability with your supervised visits. An emergency can happen, but if they keep popping up in your visitation schedule, those emergencies have probably become a bad habit that you need to correct. Continuing go cancel visits is simply not good for your kids, and it will make them feel as if they are less important than other people and events in your life.
Careful preparation, time management and emotional control are important for good supervised visitation. These visits are incredibly important to your relationship with your child, so you’ll need to do whatever you can to make this time positive for you and your kids.