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Question of the week: How do I help kids of divorce transition into their summer visitation schedule?

 
 

32334265_s“The children in our area will be getting out of school the next couple of weeks. I already know several kids of divorce that will be taking off the day after school is out. How do I send these kids off for the summer and le them know how much we will miss them?” A children’s pastor

Many children of divorce have people disappearing from their lives almost all the time. When you have an opportunity to “send them off” and tell them goodbye, seize the opportunity with gusto.

Kids need to be able to depend on people telling them goodbye. They need to know you will be waiting for them at the end of summer when they return from the other parent’s home.

Ask children of divorce or their single parent what the summer plans are. Address the kids who will be leaving right away first. If you have a large children’s ministry you may need to put names on a calendar or find someone to help you keep track so you don’t inadvertently miss someone.

Tips for send offs

  • Talk to the child personally if possible. Tell them how much they will be missed while they are gone.
  • Text the child if you can’t visit with them in person.
  • Reassure the child the church will be waiting on them at then end of summer. Some children get attached to their physical surroundings so whether you realize it of not they may be attached to the church building or the children’s area.
  • Assure the child that you will be waiting on them to return.
  • You might take a picture of the child standing in front of the church building. Then post this picture in a prominent place in your office or on a bulletin board. Tell the child you will keep their picture there until they return. Let them know they can remove the picture when they return.
  • Don’t tell the child all the activities they are going to miss over the summer months.
  • Keep in mind the child is going to be spending time at their other home. While it might not seem like they have another home, they do. The child may be worried about leaving the parent you know but let’s get real; this person they are going to spend the summer with is their other parent. They have a right to get excited about it.
  • Build on their excitement by asking them questions about what the other home is like and about what they get to do and people they might get to see.
  1. What is it like at your mom’s place? Do you have your own room?
  2. What kind of things are you going to get to do at your dads? Go fishing?
  3. Will you be seeing your aunts, uncles or cousins?
  4. How about your grandparents? Will you get to spend time with them?
  5. Does your mom have a church? Will you get to go to that church this summer?

While many of us think the child will miss us and or our children’s programs, the reality is these kids will literally be changing homes and living a different life. Some will be moving into a very different lifestyle for the next few months.

Don’t burden them down with the thought they are supposed to miss everything at home. Remember they will be at home – the other home.

Keep your goodbyes and send off light and joyful. Send them off with a prayer or a couple of scriptures and maybe even a big hug. Whatever you do, make sure you keep a smile on your face and joy in your heart.

 

 

 

One thought on “Question of the week: How do I help kids of divorce transition into their summer visitation schedule?

  1. Pingback: DC4K » Question of the week: How can single parents overcome unique summertime problems?

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