Probably one of the hardest 7-letter words to experience in a lifetime, divorce is not easy on anyone, including organized parents. There is a lot of pain. A lot of hurt. A lot of bitter moments of crying in the shower behind this 7-letter word. And we hear you. You have been through something you just did not deserve. How you have come out of it is nothing but admirable.
However, as sweet memories of your time together turn into nothing but a painful reminder of a doomed relationship, stop a minute to reflect on the toll separation takes on your child. They just lost a family that was whole and complete. Which means, as organised parents and co-parents, you may really have to go the extra mile and try to always put your kids first. You do not want them to suffer the consequences of a broken home now, do you?
Right. So let us discuss how you can co-parent effectively by putting your child first.
A little detour: what is co-parenting?
On paper, co-parenting sounds simple enough. It is all about two divorced or separated parents choosing to jointly raise their kid(s) so they can have a wholesome upbringing. They get the love of both parents this way, which can be really healthy for them.
However, co-parenting only applies to cases where there is no custody war and both parents have been deemed fit to take care of their child in a sort of systematic format by the judicial court.
Yep, that is what co-parenting is. It really can be a wonderful thing for divorced couples as well as their kids. Kids do not have to give up one parent and a parent does not have to give up their kid. So it is kind of a win-win for all.
Co-parenting tips and strategies: the key to putting your child first
It probably is not a stretch to say that co-parenting is one of those things that seem harder than they really are. If both parents are willing to cooperate, it can work smoothly. To the point when it almost becomes an instinct. Just like parenting is a typical family unit.
And we believe in you. We think you can make it work. Especially if you try to stick to these co-parenting tips.
- Visit your child regularly
- Understand what your child needs
- Communicate with your co-parenting partner
- Follow certain pick-up and drop-off rules
- Set co-parenting boundaries
- Make it about spending time, not money
- Strike a balance
Chalk out a plan with the other co-parent and make sure you get as much time as possible with your kid. It is key to forming a strong nurturing relationship, after all. However, if it is difficult for you to talk to your co-parenting partner without starting a major fight, get a counsellor involved. They can be the mediator you guys need to iron out the details and ensure both of you are on the same page.
Which is totally dependent on how old they are as this can influence the amount of time you have to devote to them in order to make co-parenting work. For example, if your child is a toddler, you may need to constantly keep an eye on them when getting your share of the time as a co-parent. However, with older kids, you do not have to be super vigilant.
Also, if your child is a baby, shorter duration visits might work better as babies can get stressed easily and need extra comfort. Once your child starts going to school though you can have them stay overnight. As for teen kids, they have a lot on their plate already so it helps to be flexible with your timings.
You also want to co-parent in a way so that your child understands this shift in parenting, which can be very new to them. Try to keep everything as simple and honest as you can. And make sure you spend good, fun times together. Always be ready to pick them up with everything they need to live in your house for the next few days.
Openly and honestly. Without trying to start a fight. Co-parenting communication guidelines from any part of the world will clearly state that parents should be honest with each other. So if there is a change in the little one’s school timings on pick-up day, inform the other parent. Do not withhold any important information. And do not use your child to convey messages to each other. That will put too much unnecessary strain on your baby. Remember, it is not their job to be a bridge between you guys. So communicate openly about even the tiniest of details that pertain to your child.
You want to keep this ritual as easy as possible. Both for you and for your kid and for co-parenting partner. That is how you maintain peace and a healthy dynamic. So make sure you are always prepared, sending your kid off with everything they will need to live in their other parent’s house. Always, always, always be punctual. If you are late, chances are you will only end up hurting your child. And lastly, communicate about pick-ups and drop-offs and be kind when you see each other.
Chalk out a workable co-parenting plan and stick to it so neither of the parents end up feeling like they got the short end of the stick. Also, set individual co-parenting boundaries with your child. They will be confused and hurt initially and might not be on their best behaviour. Try not to scold them. Instead, tell them what you expect of them and reward them for every time they come through.
Often in a situation like co-parenting, parents end up in a tug-of-war. Trying to one-up each other and prove who is the better parent. Part of that equates with spending money on your kid. The parent who spends more often seems like the one who is winning it. But it should never be about money. Or winning it. Your aim should be just to spend quality time with your baby. Nothing else. You want your child to grow up with fond memories of you.
Co-parenting can seem like a lot. And it is not uncommon to burn out when you have got so much on your plate. Especially if you have got a new family now. Sadly, burnout can lead to misdirected anger. And often the victim of that might be your child. So it is important to strike a balance between your child and your personal life. Make sure your baby gets enough alone time with you as much as they get with your other family.
Co-parenting should also involve fun activities. Make sure you take your kids out often and show them a good time so they can really maintain a good relationship with you! However, fun aside, as co-parents both of should also share responsibilities and duties. And part of those is picking out the right preschool for your kid. On that front, you are in luck as EuroKids is one of the best preschools in the country with an advanced curriculum and expert teachers. Visit us for more!