A Parent is incarcerated. Can kids visit dads in jail?

A Parent is incarcerated. Can kids visit dads in jail?

When your husband was first arrested you were busy trying to figure out what was going on, but now the children are asking to go see him. It is a personal choice whether or not to take kids to a jail for a visit. If you decide they need to see their dad, the following tips can help it go smoothly.
  • Layered clothing: The visitation areas of the jail may be hotter than usual, colder than usual or just right. Children who are not comfortable get cranky. Do everyone a favor and dress each child in layers so clothes can be discarded or added depending on the thermostat reading that particular day.
  • Bring activities: Many visits in jail are now done on television monitors, with one phone for the visitor to use. This means their dad can only speak to one child at a time. The others will be bored waiting for their turns and they also may feel some stress about the situation in general. Pack some coloring books, colors, reading books and other age-appropriate, quiet activities for them to do while waiting.
  • Snacks: If the visit is face-to-face there may be vending machines available, but if it is a visiting area filled with television monitor visits, bring some snacks. Easy to eat, non-messy choices are best.
  • Bathroom breaks: Have all the children use the restroom before leaving the house or stop at a public restroom near the jail. You don’t want to have to leave the visit to help a child use the restroom and you can’t send the child alone. Tell the children there will be no restroom use during the visit so they need to go now.
  • Help: Try to get a friend or relative to go with you to the visit. Even if they aren’t on the visitation list and cannot see your husband, she can help keep the children occupied away from the monitor. You will be glad you brought her along when you are speaking with your husband on the monitor phone and one of your children takes off across the room.
  • Final thoughts: Many children visit parents in jail every day. Taking them to see their dad reassures them that he has not disappeared and that he still loves them.
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