Parenting through the Pandemic is ESSENTIALLY difficult, especially if you are co-parenting. This arrangement is new for us and while we typically have a handle on how co-parenting is SUPPOSED to happen, the pandemic has made it even more difficult as we navigate this excruciating time.
I am talking about children sharing time among two households.
Co-parenting is never an easy task but I PROMISE it can work out beautifully when people have a mature level of respect and demonstrate responsibility. I created the acronym C.O.R.E (Cohesiveness, Optimistic, Respectful Effort) as a way to help remind us of a way to navigate our Co-Parenting situation more effectively. Sure enough, this still applies to navigating the Pandemic. However, we need to be more cognizant of just how important it is to demonstrate these characteristics as we swim our way through.
As many of you know, I have a blended family, so I understand the concerns and worries that many families are experiencing. Through lots of trial and error, I have come up with a set of “Best Practices” that should be followed to assure families are safe and feel comfortable as children bounce between two homes during the pandemic.
Communicate HONESTLY how your household is practicing social distancing and your level of communal contact. It's imperative that this is done because this limits exposure. Do not look at this as being intrusive to your household but more so, keeping everyone safe. Through effective communication, you open the dialogue and keep confusion or unsettling feelings at a minimum.
Ask Questions and consider the risks and implications of all parties involved. Healthy Children Organization, created this list of questions and I think it's perfect!
Is it truly in the child's best interest to continue to follow the parenting plan that is in place, sending the child back and forth between homes?
Is one parent better able to support homeschooling than the other? For example, is internet service equally available at both homes?
Does one parent have a job that involves more contact with the public and therefore more risk for household members?
Who else lives in the home, and how much contact do they have with the public?
Is a household member in a high-risk group: over the age of 60, suffering from underlying medical conditions, or immunocompromised?
Does one home have more space or better access to safe outdoor spaces where children can play and get exercise while keeping the recommended physical distance?
Plan Wisely if child(ren) are living between two homes. Its important to run through the list of activities that has been taking place in both homes for the past 14-21 days. This is not to be intrusive, this is to have a clear understanding of the exposure and behavior. This ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Create a schedule that limits constant movement. This could mean extended time with a parent as opposed to your typical schedule. During this time the weekend only schedule may now be suffice and you may need to extend that time.
Exemplify Respectfulness for all parties involved. During this time of high pressure and anxiety, it's detrimental to the totality of everyone’s health that being respectful is made a priority. This is not a time to be disgruntled but a time to be cohesive and consider everyone's safety.
Co-parenting doesn’t have to be difficult, but we make it difficult when we have a disregard for one another. It's important to approach the situation considering what’s in the BEST INTEREST of the child(ren). As blended families we have to remember that it is less about us and all about the children. Check out my article about co-parenting here