Dad-proof tip: Staying connected to your child after separation

If you have decided to part ways with your ex partner, know that although the decision is tough, it’s in the best interests for all involved.

Ensuring your children know that they are in no way responsible, and that their dad will continue to be there for them and love them no matter what, is fundamental.

Although you might not be able to see them everyday, doesn’t mean it should impact your relationship with them.

  1. Making it work

The research suggests that sharing of parenting time after separation works best when:

  • Children continue to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both their parents and other family members
  • Both parents continue to share responsibility for their children
  • Children live in a safe environment, with no violence or abuse
  • Parents live reasonably close to the children’s other parent
  • Parents can contain any negative feelings associated with their separation in presence of the children and the children’s other parent
  • Each parent focuses on the child/children and their right to a meaningful relationship with both parents.

2. Time with your kids

Don’t feel you must overcompensate for the loss your children have suffered by giving them expensive holidays, outings, presents, etc. The best thing you can give your children at this stage is your time and yourself.

3. Sharing homes

  • Help children anticipate change. Remind kids they’ll be leaving for the other parent’s house a day or two before the visit.
  • Pack in advance.
  • Double up, have kids keep certain basics – toothbrush, hairbrush, pyjamas – at both houses
  • Be polite when your children are picked up or dropped off. If you are loving and reassuring, it may help them cope with the transition.

4. When your child comes to you

  • Keep things low-key. Allow your child space to adjust to the transition.
  • Try to keep to their routines as much as possible – meal times, bedtimes etc. If they know exactly what to expect when they return to you it can help the transition.
  • Have a catch up on what they have been doing to get up to date.

However, visits should never be used as a way of parents checking on each other. Children need to be able to go between both households without being questioned about what the other parent has been doing.

5. Be organised for your time

Keep to your arrangements and inform the other parent if you are unable to do so. Children can easily feel rejected by your unexplained failure to arrive at the expected time.

  • Be flexible.
  • Keep your former partner up to date with any changes with arrangements
  • Plan ahead.
  • Keep a diary or calendar of dates and times with your children.

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