If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, and you've opted to strive towards co-parenting, it's going to take commitment from both of you. For co-parenting to be truly effective, the needs of your children must come first. When both parents work together, children can thrive. Here are four steps you and your spouse can take to ensure effective co-parenting during and after the divorce.
Mark the Calendar
When it comes to co-parenting, kids need to know when they'll be spending time with each parent. This will allow them enough time to prepare for each transition. The best way to do that is with a calendar. Help your child arrange the calendar so that they can see when they'll be with each parent. If your kids are old enough, let them mark their own calendars. If your children are still young, use stickers that identify each parent. They'll be able to see the stickers on the calendar and know when it's getting close to a transition.
Kids thrive on routines. If you and your spouse will be co-parenting, try to work together to encourage routines. Having consistent routines at both homes will help your child adjust to the rotating living arrangements. Some routines that should be consistent will include bedtimes, homework schedules, and extra-curricular activities. For instance, if your child participates in sports, both parents should ensure that those events aren't missed. Encouraging a consistent routine will also help alleviate discord, especially when your child realizes that the basic rules and routines will be followed by both parents.
Maintain Open Communication
Co-parenting works best when both parents are willing to maintain the lines of communication. That doesn't mean that you'll continue to have daily conversations with each other. However, it does mean that you'll both openly communicate with each other regarding your child. This includes keeping each other in the loop about upcoming activities, or discussing behavioral, educational, or medical issues that might come up.
Kids need to know that their parents are getting along, even during a divorce. If you and your spouse are committed to co-parenting, it's important that you both remain positive. Avoid speaking unkindly about your spouse in front of your child. Those unkind thoughts and feelings may pass to your child, which could undermine the loving relationship they have with their other parent.
Co-parenting is an effective way of ensuring a loving environment for your child. Use the tips provided above to become an effective co-parent. For questions regarding your divorce, or custody issues, be sure to speak to an attorney at firms like The Law Offices of Lisa E. Frazer, LLC.