Co-parenting can be complicated enough without additional factors that throw a wrench into the system you and your co-parent have developed. The presence of coronavirus will alter the way that you co-parent. Here are some tips on how to be successful co-parents while dealing with coronavirus.
Stick with the routine where you can. During this stressful time, there will be adjustments that have to be made. However, it is important to keep consistency in the places that you can. Children thrive on routines, so keeping small things consistent will help them remain calm and make a scary situation more predictable. Try to engage in similar activities with your child as you have in the past. If your child is out of school, try to incorporate academics into their day. School subjects can be incorporated into the daily routine with activities that you have done in the past such as reading their favorite books, practicing their favorite school subject with writing or math exercises, or even at home science experiments. Also, coordinate with your children’s teachers, as many are sending excellent resources for you to do at home.
Accept that you may have to interact with your co-parent more than usual. Communicating during this time is going to be more important than ever. Communication tools such as Our Family Wizard and Google Calendar can help increase communication while also keeping it civil. Pickups and drop-offs may have to be face-to-face if school or your usual spot is no longer an option, so minimize all unnecessary interaction when you exchange your child. Try to keep these communications as short and efficient as possible. Do your best to be as responsive, understanding and civil as possible as you communicate and interact with the co-parent.
Be flexible. It is not surprising to know that parenting schedules and systems are not always set in stone. Things come up that require changes to be made. During this time, there will have to be adjustments to the parenting system that you have developed over time. It is important to be flexible and work with your co-parent in order to keep things running smoothly for your children. If you are uncomfortable with the current custody agreement due to coronavirus, openly communicate that with your co-parent and attempt to come to a temporary agreement. Make sure you know which battles are important for you to fight, and which battles you are able to concede. At the end of the day, both parents will have to compromise and work together in order to continue functioning.
Accept help. During the practice of social distancing, children have seen a decrease in their typical events, including extracurricular activities, playdates, school and sports. However, you may still have to work. This can create issues if you are unable to watch your child at certain times. Accepting help from your co-parent or other third parties will be extremely beneficial to you and your child. Accepting help will decrease your stress levels as well. Putting personal issues aside and accepting help from a step-parent or extended family may be necessary in order to act in the best interest of your child.