Your children look to their parents for guidance about almost every situation they are in. This does include older children who you might not think are really paying attention. Your reaction to changes and similar matters can have a profound impact on what they think and do. For this reason, you must be especially careful with how you handle changes in the parenting plan that are sometimes necessary.
Many people follow their parenting plan perfectly, but there are some instances in which a change can't be avoided. These might be temporary, such as if family comes from out of town and the parenting schedule has to change a bit. Some are temporary, such as a scheduling change that comes when a parent's job changes.
Your reactions to these changes can impact how your children handle them. In many cases, it is best to keep your reaction positive so that your children won't think that all changes are negative matters. This isn't always going to be easy, but it might take some stress out of the situation for everyone.
Of course, it is best to try to stick to a set schedule as much as possible. The last-minute changes are ones that might cause significant problems. Ideally, you will work something out with your ex that stipulates that unless there is a true emergency, all changes will happen at least 24 hours before the normal schedule would take effect.
Whether you or your ex needs the parenting plan change, the exchange of information and the negotiation about the changes must be respectful. If these begin to happen more often than the regular schedule is followed, a permanent change might be in order.