Divorce may make you feel like your relationship with your children is going to change. You will not see them as often. You’ll have to split that time with your ex. You may worry that they’ll grow closer to your ex and more distant from you. 

You may not be able to change how often you see them, but you can change how you use that time. You can take an active role in attempting to build very strong relationships with the children when you are together. If you have been neglecting to do this during your marriage, you may even find that those post-divorce relationships are stronger and deeper than when you were married. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Engage in their interests. Play the games they like. Watch the movies they choose. Don’t just force them to conform to your preferences every time. 
  • Talk about “non-important” subjects. Parents often bring up things like how a child is doing in school, but these can feel like interrogations. Talk about the things they love and get input on things that they’re excited about. 
  • Actively engage when you’re together. Don’t just browse your phone while sitting on a bench at the playground. Go out and actively participate in the games. 
  • Do things that feel childish. If you have young children who love to dance, for instance, don’t be afraid of the impromptu dance party in the kitchen. 

At the heart of all of these things is one simple fact: You show the children that you care about them when you meet them at their level. That means the world to them. As you figure out your child custody plan, commit to doing what you can to keep those relationships strong.