Co-Parenting Struggles During Covid-198 Tips For Staying Connected
COVID-19 Concerns Among Coparents
COVID-19 has certainly impacted divorced parents that are co-parenting from a distance. It can be tough enough to co-parent without any extra challenges. Add a pandemic, uncertainty, quarantine, financial strain, military deployment, etc. and stress levels can become quite high.
Co-parenting during a pandemic comes with its own set of challenges. How do you share custody of the children when you’re supposed to be practicing social distancing? What if your ex is still working and encountering the public?
The co-parenting life amidst the coronavirus can be challenging, but there are some things you can do to get through it without going crazy. Whether you’re separated due to military deployment, or living in separate homes, the following is a short guide on how you and your ex can co-parent during the COVID-19 pandemic working together for the greater good of your family.
Agree To Work Together
The first thing you both can do is agree to work together in a way that honors everyone. This is the time to put aside differences and do the best you can for the health and safety of everyone in your family. If the children are quarantined to your ex’s home and it’s upsetting, don’t take your stress out on your ex. It’s unfortunate that you cannot physically see your children as per normal. Consciously agree to step up and agree to do what’s best for the family.
When the whole family can agree to do what’s in the best interest of the children, decisions will be easier to make. And, stress levels will be lower.
Use Healthy Communication Skills
Some co-parents experience more conflict than others, especially if the parenting plan is unorganized or non-existent. For those parents that experience conflict, make the effort to use healthy and respectful communication skills during this time. Stress is already at all-time high levels. If communication becomes difficult, it could cause much more anxiety or other negative emotions for the parents and the children. Make a commitment to use healthy communication skills, keeping the home environments harmonious.
Even though you and your family may be separated distance-wise, there are still many ways you can stay connected through family-friendly technology. Through video chats, phone calls, and texting, you can stay in touch with your children no matter how far away you may be.
If schedules are hectic, set a time each day when your children and co-parent can connect. This could be anytime during the day and evening. Simply have a conversation with the co-parent regarding times that work for everyone.
Safe & Secure Custody Sharing of Documents
With technology like online information management platforms, co-parenting can be so much more efficient, organized, and safe. Review the various online platforms and/or apps and keep connected and on track using a secure platform.
Document sharing has come a long way. It used to be that important documents were put in safety deposit boxes for safe keeping. With the rise of digital solutions, most people don’t use this method anymore.
Today, you can have all your co-parenting communication on one platform. You can create a family calendar that assigns and tracks various family activities. You can have all your pertinent childcare information with babysitters, separation agreements, vaccination records, insurance documents, passports, power of attorney documents, and even pet information.
Create a to-do list, schedule appointments, and jot down reminders – all to help your family stay on track even when you’re living in different homes.
When you take advantage of safe and secure online document sharing, you and your co-parent can get and stay on the same page. You can schedule appointments, request changes, and work together with a customizable plan to ease your mind. There are a few apps out there that can help, like newly launched Vaultt, which was built to help families communicate and securely store and share important information.
If you’re co-parenting in a military family, you may have additional concerns, such as security of information shared. Parenting among military families can be challenging in general due to the parents being separated so many miles during active deployment. It can be even more challenging for divorced partners.
Staying connected and organized is important for safety and security. Having a secure, encrypted platform to share important information could help co-parents living in different cities or even countries manage the distance better.
If you’re the deployed parent, you desire to stay informed of what’s going on with your children back home. It’s not always easy to be able to make the phone or video calls. By using a safe and secure online document sharing app, everything is right there at your fingertips. Photos, calendar, progress, messages, etc. It’s safer than texting or emailing and has data security and privacy.
Many schools have shut down for COVID-19, leaving parents to tend to their children’s schooling at home. This can feel overwhelming for some parents, especially if the coparent is not able to see the children at this time due to quarantine or social distancing.
If you’re running into extra stress due to feeling pressured to teach your children at home, know that you’re not alone. If you’re able to reach out to your child’s teacher for questions or tips, feel free to do so. Many teachers are using online resources to help parents out.
Do your best to stick to a routine regarding learning times, just as your child has at school. You don’t have to be super rigid, but being too loose in the daily schedule can cause some children increased anxiety.
If you and the co-parent were used to exchanging custody of the children after school, make different arrangements. Perhaps you can choose a neutral place in the community or allow them to come to the house if appropriate. Having an open and honest conversation surrounding this can help.
Take plenty of time to engage in fun activities with your children during this time too. Know that they may not quite understand everything that’s going on in the world with the pandemic. Do your best to explain it to them at their level and continue providing a safe and enjoyable environment for them.
Create A Shared Family Calendar
This is a great opportunity to sit down with your children and co-parent and create a shared family calendar. If your children are at an age where they can offer input, let them. This will allow them to feel as if what they want and need matters. It’s also a great opportunity to show the children that everyone in the family is working together for the greater good of all.
Not sure what a family calendar should look like? Create one that’s unique for yours, keeping in mind that structure and routine tend to be good for children, especially during times like a pandemic when they’re pulled out of their normal routine. Set times for meals, learning, play, outside activities, and so on. You can adjust as you need.
If you think you or your child has been exposed to COVID-19, be honest with your ex. Now is not the time to be withholding information. Once you’ve disclosed the information, you and your ex can talk about a game plan for a self-quarantine.
In addition, talk to your children about the plan. It’s best to keep them in the loop as to why you’re practicing self-distancing. Remember, your attitude will go a long way.