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How to Make Shuttling Between Households Easier  

© 2008 Bill Nodrick, PhD & Bev Nodrick, RSW



Shuttling between different households is the norm for many children living in stepfamilies. These “transitions” can be exceptionally trying for everyone involved. Following are 21 strategies you can use to minimize difficulties that are likely to appear at these times.




1. Once a "visitation schedule" is in place, STICK TO IT. As difficult as it may be, do your best to resist invitations, suggestions and pleas to be "flexible" or "accommodating". Rest assured, departing from the explicit terms of the schedule will open up your family to intrusion and chaos that will be a lot harder to deal with than being firm with the schedule from the outset.


Tip: The kids involved will be much happier if their schedule is not always being disrupted by “last minute” changes.


2. Post a calendar reflecting the schedule on the fridge. Explain it to the kids. Use icons or pictures to help younger children understand where they will be residing. After providing your best explanation, tell the kids that, if they have questions, they can come to you, and that you will do your level best to answer them honestly and completely.


Tip: Giving the kids knowledge of the schedule that is in place for them reassures them that their world is not spinning totally out of control.


3. Prepare a checklist of all of the "essentials" the child will need...



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The Stepfamily Foundation of Alberta