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Co-Parenting in a Pandemic: Apps and Advice

Co-Parenting in a Pandemic: Apps and Advice

Here are co-parenting apps and advice that will help your family create and stick to a plan that everyone will be happy with, even in a pandemic.


If you’re separated or divorced, you know how important it is to make a plan for sharing time with your child. However, this isn’t always easy, and can lead to frustration or even anger when schedules don’t match, kids feel like a go-between, or parents play good-cop, bad-cop. We spoke with experts and parents who have been there to get their strategies on how to best face the challenges of co-parenting during a pandemic—like working from home, homeschooling, and being on the same page about safety precautions. Here are 12 tips to develop—and agree on—a plan to co-parent successfully during a pandemic and 5 apps that can make it all a little easier.

Divide schooling by subjectBased on her experience, Adele Beiny—lifestyle expert, creator of the blog Life's Looking Good, and mom of two—encourages co-parents to divide up home schooling workload by subject, rather than by day. This will alleviate stress and distinguish individual tasks. She recommends that co-parents not wait until it’s too much, and instead, come together prior to the school year and talk about what’s coming up. 

Consider everyone’s schedules. If a father works from 6am until 7pm, his schedule could make shared parenting hard, says Tanya Helfand, a divorced mom, lawyer in New York City, and author of 20 Great Tips for a Successful Divorce. “In this case, it’s important for his ex-partner to allow him to have a nanny so he can get to work,” she suggests.

Keep it consistent. A set schedule is key for fostering stability, says Emily Stulman Klein, a divorced life strategist and mom of a 12-year-old daughter who lives in Montclair, NJ.

Be accommodating. While consistency should be a priority, parents must come to terms with temporary schedule changes every so often, especially now. (Your child might even like the change of pace since their social schedule has abruptly stopped.) Beiny suggests that if it will help the other, be open to changing custody schedules. Your court mandated custody agreement might say one thing, but if you two have mutual respect and trust, you might want to consider working around your needs and not a document. And remember, life happens. Do your best to be gracious about it.

Be transparent about how you'll protect your child from COVID-19. Be upfront with your co-parent about where you go when away from your child in case it can elevate the child's risk of exposure, Denise Pate, M.D., board-certified internal medicine physician at Medical Offices of Manhattan told Parents.com. Co-parents can create a list of who they are comfortable with their children being in contact with. While you can’t always control the other, it’s important to keep an open line of communication, says Beiny. If you need more clarity on how your partner is handling the coronavirus, Beiny recommends asking questions about how they are feeling about the coronavirus or what their friends or family are doing. Try to learn something before accusing and make it a discussion rather than finger pointing.

Don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume your co-parent is dealing with all of the changes during quarantine better than their co-parent, advises Beiny. Co-parents should consistently ask how the other is feeling and learn to actually listen. If your co-parent isn’t doing well, it has a trickle-down effect on the little ones.



Be practical and precise. Leave the emotion out of discussions and decisions as much as possible. “I also suggest that communication between the parties be in a written form,” says Steven J. Mandel, a family law attorney in NYC. According to past presiding judge of Riverside County, Sherrill Ellsworth, When it comes to making compromises and big decisions, pull away from the emotion of the past, suggests Steven J. Mandel, a family law attorney in NYC.

Put yourself in your kids’ shoes. Children should have an open relationship with both parents—and never feel like the go-betweens. “A major problem arises when the parents prevent that relationship from happening and then put the children in the middle,” Helfand says.

Skip the good-cop, bad-cop scenario. It’s very common for kids to play the “mommy vs. daddy” game. “That is why it is in the best interests of all concerned for everyone to be on the same page,” Mandel says.

Make kids feel treasured. Kids should feel like both parents are choosing to spend time with them. “We use the words who ‘gets to’ be with [our daughter] rather than who ‘has to’ be with her.” Klein says.

Reassure your childAssure your children that everyone must adapt to these uncomfortable changes, David Hill, M.D., FAAP and Jann Blackstone, PsyD suggest. Remind them that you will come out of this as a family, some changes are only temporary, and that they are loved by both parents.

Consider your legacy. Ellsworth encourages co-parents to consider what they want their legacy to be. Remember that their kids deserve better, and it’s crucial that parents put their children in the center of their thoughts, rather than in the center of their disputes and obstacles. Now is a time to better yourself, and your relationship with your co-parent.

5 Co-Parenting Apps to Make Life Easier:

WeParent

The goal of this app is to help eliminate conflicts and focus on raising happy and healthy children. It allows parents to manage events, appointments, documents, expenses, schedules and messaging. 

OurFamilyWizard

This app helps keep communication between co-parents as pleasant as possible. It lets families share messages, events, expenses, and important information. It has a useful “tone-meter” to pick up negative tones in a message and give an alternative that is less likely to start an argument.

2Houses

This is a way to communicate with your co-parent, while helping organize your schedule, keeping track of activities and exchanging information concerning their children. It also offers a messaging service, mediator access and document storage.

Coparently

Coparently offers all the tools necessary for smooth co-parenting, such as color-coded calendars, a secure messaging center, exportable and printable records, and a shared online directory for important contact information. You can also add your children to the account so they can communicate with you.

Cozi

This organizational tool lets you create and share calendars, shopping lists, to-do lists and meal plans. There is also a family journal to track milestones. Cozi plays well with other calendar programs like Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCal.

 

 


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