Co-parenting is a TEAM Effort
How do you co-parent during a pandemic? Keep in mind this won’t last forever and communication is key. That is true whether we are living under pandemic restrictions or not. Co-parenting has to be a team effort so kids feel a sense of security that their parents have things under control. If they sense their parents are not communicating, or if homework assignments are falling through the cracks, it can create more anxiety for kids. Focusing on what your kids need from you, rather than on what the other parent should or should not be doing, will help your kids through this stressful time.
Five tips to help you co-parent during the pandemic, and beyond:
- Use a free shared online calendar (Google, Outlook, Zoho). Both parents should update the calendar with homework assignments as they are assigned and also completed.
- Communicate by email whenever possible, rather than text or phone calls which can sometimes get off-topic or emotional. Keep communication short, business-like, and only about the children.
- Remember this is stressful for everyone and everyone manages it differently. You likely have different parenting styles and that is ok. Children benefit from different parenting styles. This may not be the time to complain that the kids were watching tv for two hours while your co-parent was on a conference call. As long as the kids are safe, getting rest and food, they will be ok.
- Maintaining routines is important. Make and eat dinner together so you can talk to your kids and focus on them without also having to think about work is good for you and for them. Keeping communication open with your kids is important since they may be also be experiencing the stress of isolation.
- Play! It can be hard to carve out time for fun, but put it on your calendar and stick to it. When the kids in the care of your co-parent, get chores done or put in more hours for work so when you have your kids you can make time for physical activities together. Go to the park. Go sledding, skating, or walk the dog together. Everyone needs a physical outlet and finding ways to play together is a great stress reliever for all of you.
This is an opportunity to build good co-parenting habits and once the pandemic restrictions have loosened, you will have created solid co-parenting skills to continue for the benefit of your children. If you have problems with co-parenting, remember mediation can be a great way to find resolutions to all co-parenting issues, big or small.