Dad’s New Home

How do you transition your kids to overnights at the other parent’s house? She’s 7, he’s getting a 2 bedroom apartment in April. She’s never even been to the place he has now. She also doesn’t do well with change (she’s just started therapy) and doesn’t even do well with sleepovers with the grandparents. I think it needs to be slow, he things we need to just cold turkey it.

As a divorce/family mediator, I sometimes have parents looking for options when the children are having difficulty with overnights at the non-residential parent’s home. This usually happens with kids who have a really tough time with change/new settings or those who aren’t familiar with the non-residential parent. For these parents I recommend a progressive schedule designed to ease the child into overnight stays.

The schedule looks something like this:

  1. DAY visits outside of dad’s home
  2. DAY visits at dad’s home
  3. EVENING visits at dad’s home (no overnights)
  4. Overnights at dad’s home

If the child has a room at dad’s, it’s great if they can leave an item at there…something related to their bedroom routine, I.e. PJs, teddybear, favorite blankets, etc. Of course, this works best when both parents agree at what point your child is ready to move up to the next level. Your therapist would be a tremendous resource in deciding when to move on.