Co-Parenting Recommendations For The COVID-19 Crisis – Scott F. Levin Esq CDFA Mediator
Parenting during the pandemic is pretty difficult. I have three kids under 10 and so I am right there with you. And unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news, parenting during a divorce and after will not be any easier. The feelings co-parents have after divorce about each other are often negative and that can interfere with the good communication and problem solving that is needed to both be good parents to your children.
San Diego Divorce Mediation and Family Lawyers are back again to help provide some solid recommendations to consider during COVID-19. Schools in California will be closed for at least a portion of the Fall semester and most likely for the entirety and so divorced parents need to come together to educate and instill calm more than ever.
- Take Care Of Yourself
If you are happy and content on the inside, your kids will likely be fine. So it is critical to find healthy ways to get self-care during these stressful times. While gyms, nail salons and beauty shops are closed for the time being, a lot of the traditional ways that you cared for yourself are not available. But we need to find other ways. Find yourself alternative ways to feel genuinely happy and get yourself “me” time in the form of reading, walking, speaking to a friend (yes, actually calling someone, not texting), and stay away from the negativity of the news cycle.
Summer break is coming to an end in 6 weeks and so start preparing your children for the rigors of online schooling. Help them build a daily schedule to complete the school assignments and tasks, as well as other enjoyable activities. If you are uncertain about anything they need, talk to the school or teacher and pass this information on to the other parent if the interaction between you is secure.
- Patience Is A Virtue
Patience is the key to your interaction with your co-parent. Parents do things differently and you need to understand this. You can’t force your co-parent to adopt your strategies. While you can educate the co-parent on the benefits of parenting in certain ways, they have a choice and their choice may be different than yours. Once you understand that you cannot control every aspect of your kid’s life at the other home, you can learn to be at peace.
Patience with your children and partner allows you to be okay when life doesn’t go as planned. COVID-19 is difficult for all of us and all of us will have to be educators and not just parents come to this September. So learn to take breaths when things go awry and try to stay on the same team with your kids and your co-parent. We’re all facing a pandemic as well as missing the normalcy of daily school activities, daily work activities, and daily home activities, not to mention the loss of extracurricular activities and sports.
Patience is a key to minimizing anxiety and tension.
- If COVID-19 Hits Your Home, Be Transparent & Understanding
If you or your children are exposed to COVID-19 or if it’s confirmed that you or they have it, be sure to immediately relay this information to your co-parent. Do not wait for that information to be requested; be transparent and proactively share it. If due to COVID-19 problems, a parent can not physically see the child during their scheduled parenting time, they should have reasonable video and phone contact with the child at a minimum.
- Perfection Is Not The Goal
Keep your goals reasonable for yourself and your family. No parent trying to do both a job and a home school schedule at the same time is thrilled with their performance. See how and when your work can be done realistically. Be realistic about how your household will learn at home.
Staying stable during this period is critical physically as well as emotionally. Access your personal and professional support systems so you can keep on supporting your kids. Our world is changing every day and my hope is that you and your family will be careful while we all adapt.
Parents in the middle of separation while still living together often experience extreme frustration and bitterness. It’s hard to avoid arguing — if you argue, try your best to do it in a way that children can’t see it, and they can’t hear.
- Flexibility Is A Key
You and your co-parent may be having new challenges to compete with. Many people lose their jobs, their wages, and their health insurance. Those who are fortunate enough to still have their jobs often try to figure out how to do those jobs while at home and schooling their kids. Others are at the frontline of the situation. All will go as expected, but you need to be careful.
Drop-offs and pick-ups are not occurring at school or college and due to circumstances beyond your control one or both of you may be running late. It may be likely to break into the familiar pattern of blaming one another, but we encourage you to make the most gracious and responsive interpretation.
In conclusion, we are all in this together and so lean on your community of friends and family and neighbors and…your co-parent to survive and advance through each day. Social media may portray your neighbors and colleagues as maintaining perfection but those images and stories are certainly not the reality in every case. Doing your best to survive and advance is your objective and we wish you all the best. Here are some great parenting resources if you’re interested in learning more about how you can help your children.