If you and your ex share custody of your children, the kids likely need to live in two different homes. There are rare exceptions — such as nesting, when the parents move in and out of the same house — but most custody arrangements have the children move.

This can be difficult and upsetting for the kids. Here are a few tips that can help make things easier, allowing them to feel happy and secure:

  • For young children, have a set routine. You want them to know exactly what to expect when moving between houses.
  • As they grow up, though, be flexible with this routine. Kids start to get involved in more activities and they spend more time with their friends. Do not make the routine so restrictive that they resent it.
  • Communicate with your ex. Yes, you may not get along and may not enjoy talking, but you need to communicate about the children’s needs at all times. Put the kids first.
  • Talk to the kids, as well. Ask them what they want and how you can make the process easier for them. Again, these things may become more relevant as they get older.
  • Never make your children pick sides. This puts a lot of stress on them. Instead, focus on showing them that you both love them and want to spend time with them, even though you are no longer married to one another.

As you set up your custody schedule and focus on the children’s best interests, make sure you know all of the legal options that are available to you.