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Back-to-school tips for noncustodial parents

If you are like many noncustodial parents, you may have a visit with your child planned in the coming weeks now that school is back in session. Schedules are tighter during the school year so you value the time with your child. However, this limited time may lead you to feel pressured to overspend, over-plan or even unknowingly overstep boundaries.

If you are getting ready for an upcoming visit from your noncustodial child, you may find that it goes more smoothly if you take care to do the following.

Remain amicable with your child's other parent

If you can remain cordial and even friendly with your child's other parent during drop-off and phone calls leading up to the visit, your child may be more likely to feel at ease in your care. In some cases, kids, younger ones particularly, feel more comfortable forging strong relationships with one parent if they feel they have the complete support of the other parent in doing so.

Set ground rules with other family members

If your visiting child is joining other kids already living in your home, make sure you do not treat the visitor any differently than you do your home's permanent residents. Doing so can create unnecessary conflict among children. Additionally, if you have a new boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, make it clear to your new partner that you, and you alone, are to be responsible for disciplining your visiting child.

Avoid spoiling and overspending

In most cases, your noncustodial child just wants to get to know you better. Instead of concentrating on spoiling your son or daughter in the limited time you have together, try to focus on engaging activities that allow for conversation. Take walks, cook dinner or kick around a soccer ball, but make it a point to concentrate on time, not money.

Consider these tips for maximizing visits with your noncustodial child. You just may find they become more frequent and fulfilling in time.

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