My 4.5 year old daughter has alternate weekend contact at present with her father. Midweek contact has always been offered but rarely taken up (probably 4-5 times per year at most.) She''s said that he has a new job and says he''ll now take her for tea once per week. However, she has activities 3 nights per week and as of September I''ll be back at Uni on the other two days. The childminder won''t have my ex in her house as he has been violent in the past and daughter is very settled there and doesn''t want to change, or give up activities. Also, her father would expect to collect her at 6pm and return her her between 7.30-8pm which means she wouldn''t be in bed until at least 9pm after shower and stories etc which is too late on a school night. A further problem we''ve had with past midweek contact is that he takes her for tea (he doesn''t live close enough to go to his house) but doesn''t insist she eats anything - i.e he''ll take her to McDonalds, he''ll let her have milkshake and she''ll drink that and not eat and then is hungry when she returns, thus making her late to bed again. I''ve asked him to ensure she eats, but he says he won''t waste his time with her ''bossing her around like I do!'' Any ideas on solutions for these issues?
It is so important that your daughter has a settled week during school times. I managed to convince my ex of this. Hope you can too. I don''t think that missing a meal once in a while will harm things but if she is coming home hungrey she wont sleep if not fed. Ask either he ensures he takes her somewhere where he knows she will eat or that he picks her up earlier and bring her back earlier so she eats before bed. Of course he may do neither, if that is the case you can do nothing about it.....perhaps make up some sandwiches to take with her that you know she will eat, that may give him a bigger hint. other than that you will have to do a light quick meal and get her to bed as close as possible to her normal time. Good luck, remember always stay calm and do the best under the circumstances, don''t rise to his silly comments. I''m sure by bossing he means you give her disciplin where he does not.
I agree with Lori, its imperative that children have a steady and well rested routine during the school week. We briefly did week day contact from 5.30pm until 7 which worked ok most of the time. There were occasions where my daughter wasnt fed and it impacted on sleep schedules and school days. Is it possible to feed her before he collects her?
I think returning her between 7.30 and 8 is too late. I think 7pm is late enough to have her ready for bed at a reasonable hour but any later and your potentially affecting her day at school the following day.
Also, given her midweek activities and your commitment to uni how does he propose it will fit in? I think you need to put your daughter first here and consider if and how it will work for her.
He expects that she will give up an activity, which she doesn''t want to do. Also he''s said before he''ll come on a different day each week which obviously wouldn''t work as it isn''t fair that she can''t do any activities at all in that case. Wherever he takes her to eat he lets her have pudding/milkshake whether she eats her meal or not so she never will. Similarly, if I sent her with sandwiches he''d buy her sweets/icecream etc whether she ate them or not. I can''t really feed her before she goes because that leaves them with nowhere to go as soft play areas etc are closed by the time he comes at 6pm so not sure what else I can do? He won''t budge on times as he thinks I''m lying about what time she goes to bed as she stays up until at least 10pm watching films at his at weekends so he says 8pm is definitely early enough.
My daughter is almost 6 and she in bed most nights by half 7 if not slightly earlier and sometimes i still have problems dragging her out of bed in the morning!! Although i must admit i am more flexible on the weekends as she doesnt have to be up in the morning. Does he not understand this?
Also, not having a set day each week would be a no no in my book. You and your daughter need a routine. Why should she have to miss her activities? Can he not pick her up earlier than 6? If he is only feeding her dessert maybe start providing meals at home and then he gets the fun task of taking her out only for dessert? Might put a different spin on it for him!! Lol
I suppose at the end of the day, as bad as it sounds, you control the contact. You set out the guidelines and times etc so i think this may be the time to put your foot down and keep your daughter in a routine that is beneficial to her. In an ideal world her dad would understand her routine and why she needs it and you would be able to work it out together but it doesnt seem that this is the case.
I have tried explaining that she has to be up at 6.45 for school and so is generally in bed for 7.15pm but he thinks she''ll be fine having a late night. I offered to feed her first so he could just her dessert but he said I was infering he wasn''t capable of feeding her....! He is very much an ''I''ve said it so I won''t back down'' kind of person; even though some days he works from home he won''t collect before 6 as that''s the time he originally said! Which is very frustrating. I''m definitely not agreeing to it taking place on no set day as it isn''t fair on our daughter to not be able to do any activities and she also isn''t happy to see him so would feel on edge all the time wondering when he''s coming.
Jenna, will these activities continue over the summer holidays? Is it not worth trying the mid-week contact during the holidays and seeing how it goes? That way, you don''t have the added complication of your daughter''s activities and your Uni evenings to deal with for this period.
I know you are very protective of your daughter, but if Dad is showing willing to start mid-week contact, I think you need to work with him on this one, rather than constantly placing hurdles in the way.
The mid-week contact may not work out for all sorts of reasons, but surely better to try, and if it doesn''t work, then at least you can''t be accused of not having made every attempt to facilitate it.
I agree about having it on a set day, its better for everyone if there is a set routine.