Divorcing as a parent typically means co-parenting with your ex-spouse, which means sharing parental duties more or less equally. Research shows that it is usually in children’s interests to maintain a close relationship with both parents following a divorce. Co-parenting helps to facilitate and maintain that relationship.
That does not mean that co-parenting is easy. You, your ex and your children all need time to adjust. The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse suggests tips you can follow to make co-parenting a success.
1. Focus on your kids during your time together
When you co-parent, you have limited time to spend with your children. Make the most of this time by eliminating or reducing distractions so you can give your children as much attention as possible. Most other obligations can wait until your children are no longer with you.
2. Establish a consistent routine
The divorce will inevitably change many aspects of your children’s lives. If you can establish a new, consistent routine as soon as possible after the divorce, it can restore a sense of security for your children.
3. Plan other visits ahead of time
From time to time, there may be deviations from the co-parenting plan during which your children visit other family members. Plan these trips ahead of time so you can prepare your children for them.
4. Keep lines of communication open
Find a way to communicate effectively with your ex-spouse regarding your parenting responsibilities so that rules and expectations remain consistent.
Additionally, make time for heart-to-heart conversations with your children and encourage them to talk about whatever feelings they have about the divorce. This is especially important in the early days.