The Ins and Outs of Parenting Time: 6 Tips

The Parenting time process for either parent may bring a mix of emotions for each parent.

6 Tips to Help Co-parenting Time Run Smoothly

(updated December 9, 2019) 

1. Positivity

Remain positive when talking to your children about upcoming visits with the other parent. Don’t allow your frustration with your former spouse get in the way of your child being able to look forward to spending time with the other. The worst thing that one can do is make your children feel stuck in the middle. It is strictly about what is best for the child.

2. Promptness

Being on time shows respect for your children and your former spouse. It is imperative to show your children that your time with them is important and means as much to you as it does to them and the other parent who is dropping them off or picking them up. Setting a time and location for drop off and pick up and sticking to it is extremely important for the stability of a child.

3. Quality time

Parenting time is a time to focus on your children. It is not wise to begin parenting time with an argument with your former spouse. Set up meetings with your former spouse to discuss issues instead of with the child present and don’t make the mistake of relaying messages through your child. You do not want this to impede on parenting time, but most importantly give mixed messages to your child. Things regarding the children should be discussed as adults between solely both parents. Also, put your phone aside to show your child you are committed to spending time with them. This is your time with your child, make it a point to engage your child when they are visiting and show them your love.

4. Schedule

Creating a calendar with your children will help them look forward to parenting time. It will also teach them how to be responsible. Put overnight visits, vacations, and other important dates so they can be actively involved in planning upcoming events. Include the other parent in these plans as well so both parents may make decisions to agree upon for future plans.

5. Understanding

It is normal for children to miss the other parent when away, and it is also completely normal for the parent to also worry or want to make sure the child is content and behaving. Allow the child to call the other parent to say goodnight or text when an important event happens (a lost tooth, a winning game, an A on an exam). It will display a positive relationship between both parents and show that you are willing to do what is best for your children.

6. Routine

Routine is key, it extremely important to keep bedtimes, homework times, and other important tasks similar between households. It helps children feel stable and secure if their lifestyle is the same on a school night at one parent’s as it is at the other parent. Upon return to the other parent’s home the child should fall right back into the same routine and not become difficult when asked to perform normal duties they usually do. That includes rewards, promises and discipline, it is also very important to discuss when a reward or punishment has been given to a child and the reason amongst parents so they may continue to carry this reward, promise or punishment while they are with that parent during that time.

Status of the Illinois Equal Time Parenting Bill

Your entire family is impacted by divorce so having a support team is crucial. Should you require the help of a family law attorney, please contact our office.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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