Let’s face it; this year has been stressful. Whether you are working from home, a front-line worker or have lost your job entirely, you are facing a new reality, and so are your kids. This time has been difficult for everyone.
If you and your spouse or partner are parting ways and trying to divvy up parenting roles between two households, we have a few tips to help you get through the current climate:
1. Communication is key
By now, people are used to changing their schedules and adjusting their routines due to the Coronavirus. You will both need to show flexibility and open communication to make this work. You have seen how quickly things can change, and you must be willing to change with them.
2. Agree on health and safety considerations
You will need to consider many factors in deciding how to handle co-parenting, and your children’s health, happiness and safety must be the most important factor. Agree on factors such as how you will report symptoms to each other from anyone in either house, when you will take the child’s temperature, and how to handle an illness.
3. Discuss where and when you will go out
Many places are relaxing restrictions on social isolation, but many states are also seeing a rise in cases. You and your ex should discuss what kind of outings you are comfortable with for yourself and your child. Just because your child’s sports team may start back up does not necessarily mean that it is the right choice for your family. On the other hand, you may feel like a trip to the park with plenty of hand-washing is okay.
4. Socially distant drop-offs
You might think maintaining six feet of distance during a drop-off or pick-up seems tricky or even impossible, but you can do it. Have your child say good-bye in the car while the other parent waits a few feet away. Meet outside, if possible. You might even agree that it makes more sense for only one parent to do all the transportation, depending on your circumstances. Stay positive during the exchange, especially toward your other co-parent.
5. Keep it balanced and allow for make-ups
So many things are outside of your control right now, and your agreed-upon schedule might not work out as planned. If one of you must miss a visit, allow for make-up visits. Even if you decide your child should only stay at one house for the remainder of the pandemic, agree to balance that time out at a later date. Your child’s relationship with both parents is still important.
Whether you recently split or are a veteran co-parent, the pandemic creates new parenting challenges for everyone. And just like everything else, the only way we will get through it is by working together. Stay flexible and find what works for you and your family.