Divorced parents in Maryland who don't have primary custody of their children may feel a sense of loss and separation from their children. It is all too easy to start to grow apart when you no longer live in the same household. But given a concerted effort, there are many ways to reconnect with your children who now live with your ex-spouse and to strengthen the relationship over time.
There is nothing wrong with giving gifts, but if the truth be told, what children need, more than anything, is your time and attention, your support and guidance. Rekindling and strengthening your relationship with your children will be easier if the relationship with the custodial parent is at least cordial, so an effort is required there too. You should strictly adhere to visitation schedules in a reliable manner, and do everything possible to assure the custodial parent that the children will be safe when in your care and will be returned on time.
Both parents, at heart, have their children's best interest in mind and should attempt to cooperate on needed activities. Children may need time to adjust to a previously absent parent's renewed interest, so allow them some breathing room.
You need to make an effort to learn your child's preferences in hobbies, sports, movies and other recreations, and respect their need for time with their friends. Try to avoid scheduling time with them when it will interfere with that. You also need to take an interest in their schooling. Just because you don't have primary child custody doesn't mean that you can't become involved in the PTA, school plays or parent-teacher conferences. This will help your relationship with your children grow.
Huffington Post, "Reconnecting With Children You Left Behind" Marie Hartwell-Walker, Nov. 08, 2013