The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting

By Ann Gold Buscho, Ph.D.

The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting:

A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce



Nesting, or “birdnesting,” as it’s sometimes known, refers to a transitional or temporary arrangement where parents alternate time in the family home and take turns being “on duty” with their children. Their children stay in the home full time, which gives them more time to adapt to changes in the family. Like birds who rotate in and out caring for the babies while the babies remain safe and secure in their soft, protected nest, parents work together to create a home for their children that is safe, stable, and loving. Parents also use this time to consider the future of their marriage, decide to work on reconciliation, or move toward separation or divorce. It is a healthier way to begin the process of separating or divorcing.




The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting - A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce



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How Will Nesting Help Your
Kids and You?


Nesting provides three important things:How Will Nesting Help Your Kids and You?

  • The continuity of stable routines for your kids

Conflict, especially between parents, damages children the most.  Separation is painful and overwhelming for children and nesting makes it easier for them. They stay in one home and their routines don’t change. It gives your kids time to adjust to the changes.

  • A break from the tension between you and your spouse

Nesting shields your children from the conflict between you and your partner. You get a respite from the difficulties in your marriage. Nesting also provides you, the parents, time to reorganize and stabilize yourselves.

  • Time to develop co-parenting while figuring out your next steps

You can ease into a co-parenting relationship without moving kids back and forth between two homes. You have the time you need to focus on the future of your relationship.

Nesting is the perfect temporary solution to a breakdown in a marriage. It can be a positive step toward reconciliation or divorce if that’s what’s going to happen.

To start, you need a small amount of trust in your spouse. If necessary, you can cultivate that trust. And you have to be able to put your kids’ needs ahead of the conflict. You don’t have to be good buddies, just good parents. I will show you how to create a successful nesting arrangement, step by step.

Dr. Ann Buscho speaking about her book, The Parent’s Guide To Birdnesting, in this author interview with Divorceify co-founder, Casey Rose Shevin.

Quote from Ann:
“What story do you want your kids to share about your divorce when they are grown? The decisions and actions you take now, shape their future narratives. Nesting offers your children the chance to create a story of a healthy and amicable separation or divorce.”

Why I Wrote This Book


When my ex-husband and I divorced in the early 1990’s, we nested. Nobody had ever heard of it and we just figured it out, day by day. We kept the conflict away from the kids and put our kids first. We made some mistakes and I learned some powerful lessons.  I wrote The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting so that others don’t have to re-invent the wheel. You can nest successfully and this book will guide you every step of the way.

The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting is long overdue.  I’m not advocating for divorce. I’m advocating for a good divorce if there’s going to be one. My hope is that this book will help families make the transition to a new family structure in a way that protects kids and is healing for the whole family. The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting will help you create a successful nesting plan for your family.


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Is sharing a home with your spouse when you’re splitting crazy? No.  January is often referred to as “divorce month” because many people wait till after the holidays to make the decision to file for divorce. It is also a good time to come up with a temporary plan to ensure that your children’s lives are not overly disrupted. Nesting may be...

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A Report: Family, Love, and Dying Twice

This article by Dr. Ann Buscho was originally published on the Discressionary Love website, June30, 2022 This is the story of a dying memoir, and how my sister died twice. Judith and I sat in my sister’s sunny garden outside San Francisco. She was so proud of that small garden. She loved to get her hands into the soil, weeding and pulling out...

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Is Birdnesting the New Norm?

More and more often, clients are contacting me to help with setting up successful nesting, or birdnesting arrangements. I am glad that more people know about nesting now because a successful nesting agreement can stabilize your family and keep your children’s lives stable with consistent routines. Divorce is a disruptive process, but nesting can...

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