Tips for Co-Parenting During COVID-19
Co-parenting is never simple. COVID-19 has created extra hurdles to the challenges of co-parenting a child. Perhaps you or your co-parent work at a high-risk job or have even tested positive for the virus. Maybe you don’t agree on the need for social distancing or wearing a mask. These issues can easily move from slight disagreements to full-out arguments because you are both passionate about the wellbeing of your child. If you are in this situation, try to stay calm and take the time to look at all of your options for co-parenting during COVID-19.
Co-Parenting During COVID-19: Potential Areas of Conflict
Parent at a High-Risk Job
If either you or your co-parent are working at a high-risk job such as a hospital or doctor’s office, there is a higher chance that you could catch the virus and pass it to your child. This is something you will have to discuss with your co-parent. Together, decide whether you feel confident with continuing to have your children go back and forth between homes, or if you need to make changes.
Different Views on COVID-19 Regulations
There has been debate about the effectiveness of COVID-19 regulations and recommendations, including social distancing and wearing a mask. If your opinions differ on these options, discuss them in-depth with your co-parent before discussing them with your children. You don’t have to completely agree on everything, but you will need to come to a decision that will make both of you comfortable that your children are safe and unafraid during this difficult time. Your children are probably already hearing differing opinions and facts from other people; they need to see that their parents are on the same page.
If a Parent or Relative Tests Positive for COVID-19
If one of you or a close relative tests positive for COVID-19, you will need to take steps to reduce the risk of your children contracting it. This will include speaking to your doctor and discussing other ways to see your child if you can’t be near them in person.
Tips to Avoid Conflict and Make Co-Parenting During COVID-19 Work for Your Family
Communicate with Your Co-Parent
Take time to speak directly with your co-parent in private. Make sure you both explain your feelings and concerns during this difficult time. Listen to his or her thoughts and opinions before explaining your own. It will be much easier to decide the best way to move forward once you’ve fully discussed the situation.
Communicate with Your Children About Co-Parenting During COVID-19
Most likely, your children know more about what’s going on than you think they do. They’ve been taken out of school and kept away from their friends. It will be hard for them to experience change in their time with their parents too. Remind your kids that you both still love them and that you will both be doing everything you can to have time with them. Create a united front for co-parenting during COVID-19 on the new rules you will be enforcing for your child.
Be Willing to Adjust Your Schedule
You or your co-parent may have had specific visitation hours or days that you could see your child, but understand that you may need to adjust that schedule. It is important for your children to see both their parents, even if it means you can’t do things you normally would. You may even find that this new schedule works better for you.
Take Advantage of Online Tools
There are many online programs you can use to communicate, even when you can’t be together in person. Set up a Skype or Zoom chat to make sure that your children get to see both their parents, even when they can’t be in close proximity. This option could be a blessing if you or your co-parent live in a different state than your children. Even if they can’t visit as often due to travel restrictions, they can still experience that one on one time with a parent. This is also a great option if you or your co-parent has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has been near someone who has.
Remember Your Priorities
Your first priority in this situation should always be your children’s’ wellbeing. You may not agree with everything your co-parent says or does, but that doesn’t change that person’s importance to your kids. As long as you both love your children, you can come to terms that work for both of you for co-parenting during COVID-19.
COVID-19 has created a new reality for all of us. We are all under stress, including our children. Be understanding and willing to negotiate to come to the best terms for your child’s life. Remember that the most important part of this process is to keep everyone, especially your children, safe and healthy. For more information, please contact us.
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