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Making The Most of Your Time With Your Child

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 11 Jan 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Separated Dads Contact Time With Your

As a separated father, you’ll find that suddenly you have a very limited amount of time with your children. Even if your work schedule only meant that you saw them for a limited time before you were separated, you could enjoy each other’s company in the evenings or do things on weekends.



Now you have to make the most of the time you have with your children. If that’s the traditional every other weekend and half the summer holidays, then you actually have a reasonable amount of time to do things. In a number of instances, though, contact can be a lot less, making it harder to Maintain A Strong Bond With Your Children.

Best Use of Time

The thing to say is that there’s no single best use of the time you spend with your children. It’s all about what you and they want to do. However, it’s vital that you spend the time together. You should never allow pressure of work to force you to say that you can’t see them. That’s time you can never regain.

If your time with your children is very limited – say an hour or two a week – then you have a restricted choice in what you can do. It could be a quick meal or a little shopping. But make the most of it. You don’t have to shower your kids with gifts (indeed, if you do so regularly, it creates some false expectations from them). Simply being with them and being interested in their lives is usually enough.

When you’re with your kids, remember to Communicate With Them. Find out what’s going on in their lives, who their friends are, how they’re doing at school, how they’re progressing with their interests. Be supportive and offer advice and help where you can (a £3 monthly subscription to an online game, for example, can mean a lot more than an impulsive £40 gift). Talking keeps you close – make time for it when you’re together.

Enjoying Activities

It’s easy to establish a cycle of doing things with your kids when you see them – a film, eating out. That’s fun, and perfectly appropriate once in a while (in the case of restricted contact, it might be all you can do). But ask your kids what they want to do. Don’t impose your tastes on them. At the end of a session with them, ask what they’d like to do next time.

If your child or children have specific interests, indulge them. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but regularly, as they might not have the chance otherwise. It also reminds your children that you remember things they love.

With permission from your ex, and if it falls within the legalities of contact, take your children on holiday for a week if you can. It gives you all time in a different place you can all enjoy together without any of the pressures of home.

Time At Home

However much fun it is to do things with your children, it’s also important to have quiet time with your kids. That can be an evening at your home with a pizza or a home-cooked meal, watching TV, a DVD or playing a board game. It brings an element of normality to the visit, and actually helps forge a closer bond between you and your children.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money and be constantly doing things for your children to keep loving you. All too often they’ll be happy enough simply to have time with you, whatever the situation – and if it’s somewhere they can relax, so much the better.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Im am paying my estranged wife £70 per week child support for my 2 children and have been for almost 2 years since our separation and at times more than that amount plus i have agreed to pay half for things like school shoes and clothing, this £70 is more than the amount worked out using the csa calculator. My ex has now started to make threats to go to the csa and claim that i have not paid her any money for my children since we split up and i have no receipts for these payments as they were made in cash and up untill recently we had a good relationship so i did not feel the need. I have now asked her to sign a letter stating that i have paid this money and also to give me a receipt for any future payments but she is refusing she also is refusing to give me her bank details so i can pay using on line banking. Am i within my right to ask for this signed letter and payment receipt?
markt - 20-Oct-13 @ 9:17 PM
A have court orders to see my son now every Wed from 9am to 4:30pm and every second weekend from Thu 6pm to Mon 6pm which is good contact. Now she is at college a get my son every Tue from 8:15am to 4:30pm and a Thu 8:15am to 1pm as well as my court orders. So now a get my son 10 days out of 14days which is great but am the one on JSA and not working my ex will not give me any help in food for our son a even have a bedroom tax to pay. a have been informed a shoud contact child benefit and child tax benefit and am getting told a should not do this becuse my ex will take my son from me and put him to a child minder. A have all this access to my son but only get £72 per weak to live on and feed, cloth, my son even now take him to nursery 8 days out of 10. What shoud a do and how can help me?
rab - 4-Sep-13 @ 8:01 PM
My Ex wants me to be dropping my daughter to school every day. I did it before but now I cannot afford to run my car due to a reduction in income. She has already placed a claim for child support through CSA but wants to pay my insurance so that I can afford to fit in her daily plan. It is confusing. I want to ask her to withdraw from CSA and she can benefit more. I cannot take back money from her after paying CSA. Is that sensible?
Lawi - 15-Jun-13 @ 7:13 PM
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