The dangers of COVID-19 present special, even dire problems for single-parenting, co-parenting and extended family parenting. Two recent articles cover many of the issues with sensitivity, insight, and practicality.
“I Never Felt Like a ‘Single’ Parent. Then the Coronavirus Hit.” sums up what so many have overlooked during shelter-in-place orders. It quotes social psychologist Bella DePaulo that fewer than one in five U.S. households consists of married parents and their shared children.
Co-parenting? Midsummer is a great time for a co-parenting check-in. Even while you and the kids are celebrating all the fun that summer brings, set aside a little time for keeping your co-parenting relationship running smoothly. This review is particularly critical if your child is moving to a new school or there are radical changes to the school schedule. Yet, even if all will remain much the same as last year, it is worth the time to touch base. This can also be an excellent time to review shared rules that evolve as a child grows older. When you talk together, you may find that your co-parent has changed circumstances and s/he may need some adjustments to the parenting plan.
Last minute surprises always put people in a bad mood. So do a little preventive maintenance for your co-parenting relationship.
Gather this information before you talk.
- School and bus schedules
- School holidays
- List of sports and other activities
- Significant new school events, such as graduations, prom, and other events both parents might want to take part in.
- Review what worked well the past year and what problems you can prevent for the coming year.
- Give some thought to rules changes if you have agreed to mutually enforced rules.
And don’t forget your personal schedule constraints.
- Will there be a change in holiday plans this year such as a trip or visiting relatives that need schedule adjustments?
- What about your work schedule? Are there times you know you will be out of town? Will it complicate the hand-off or maybe you’d like to offer extra time to the other parent?
What does your child know about the schedule that you don’t?
Your checklist is not complete until you sit down with your child and find out what they anticipate for the year.
- Are there events not on the official schedule that they are looking forward to?
- How about major parties?
- What about activities? Do they want to drop an activity? Add one?
Do you need any help with getting an agreement for changes?
If your relationship with your ex or co-parent requires a more formal approach with an alteration to the parenting plan, David Jones and John Groseclose are happy to help you make those changes. They have a combined total of more than 40 years experience assisting parents to reach amicable agreements that work and going to court when necessary.
Share any other factors that co-parents need to consider before school begins in the comments below.