Co-parenting can be challenging enough under normal circumstances; add in the COVID-19 pandemic and all the stress that comes along with it, and co-parenting takes on a new level. Due to the pandemic, many schools are closed, and parents are working from home. These new schedules and routines mean that many people also have to change their co-parenting routines.
But, there are things that parents can do to make the situation better for themselves and their children and keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible in the process.
Be on the Same Page with Hygiene Habits
If you make your child wash their hands all the time while the other parent doesn’t, your child will get confused, not to mention risk getting sick. Parents should talk about how they’re going to wipe down surfaces in their homes and implement good hygiene habits.
Also, keep the same rules about social distancing. Playdates and having friends over are not recommended at this time, so both parents should be on the same page about playdates. When one parent decides to break the rules, it not only puts everyone’s health at risk but also sends a confusing message to the kids. All rules about how to handle the pandemic need to be consistent so that your child sees that you are presenting a united front and know what’s expected of them.
Be Honest and Transparent
One of the main things to remember during this time is to be as honest and transparent as possible. Everyone’s health is of utmost importance. If you think you may have been exposed or are not feeling well, it’s essential to tell the other parent. This way, they can keep your child safe. It may mean that your child spends more time with them than you during this time, but you need to put that aside and put your child’s health first.
Be Understanding and Accommodating
If the parent responsible for child support has lost their job due to the COVID-19 crisis, be understanding. Talk about the situation. See if a compromise can be made so that some child support can be made while the full payment may not be realistic at this time.
If your child is living with you most of the time, chances are you’re buying more food and supplies than you usually would since schools are mainly closed. Convey this to the other parent to see what can be done to meet the child’s needs while dealing with these extraordinary circumstances.
Be Generous & Consider Makeup Time
There is a chance that while one parent may be working from home, the other parent may be a first responder and may be working longer hours. This may take away from the scheduled visitation time that has been laid out by the court. It also may not be safe for them to spend time with your child right now.
Be generous and consider allowing the other parent to make up any time that they can’t spend with your child now. Explain to your child that the other parent has an important job to do right now but will spend more time with them once things calm down. Not fighting about the situation will help to make things go smoother for everyone.
Present a United Front & Answer Questions
This is a scary time for everyone, but especially children. Parents should talk together about how they’re going to handle the crisis with their kids. How are they going to answer questions? How much media exposure are they going to allow? If a child is splitting time between homes, these types of rules need to be consistent. It may be a good idea to sit down together and talk to your children. Ask them what kinds of questions they have and explain as much as you can.
The most important thing to remember is that you and your children’s health should be the top priority at this time. Everyone can work together to stay safe so that we can all get through this.