Effective Strategies for Co-Parenting During a Pandemic
- Regulations implemented to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 have changed the way we interact and parent
- Flexibility regarding parenting plans is essential for effectively parenting during uncertain times
- Adopting the correct strategies for better co-parenting can help maintain structure and stability for children
- Providing co-parents peace of mind through improved communication is essential in times of crisis
COVID-19 has affected the entire planet, altering the way we live and interact with people. Anyone who is separated or divorced knows how hard co-parenting can be under the best circumstances. The current world crisis and social distancing requirements make everything far more complicated than usual.
While many parents are struggling during this time, there are several ways to make co-parenting during the pandemic easier and less stressful for all parties.
Changes to Parenting Due to the Pandemic
Research conducted by the Research Involvement and Engagement center shows how children and parents have been affected by the pandemic. Many families have been negatively impacted by the absence of child care, in-person schooling, and extra-curricular activities.
New responsibilities such as supervising a child’s remote schooling while working from home have resulted in high-stress levels for parents. In addition, job loss and the need to care for vulnerable family members have changed many parents’ schedules and availability.
Co-Parenting in a Remote World
In a time of crisis, parents must ask themselves what they can do to adjust their children’s visitation schedule so that everyone in both households remains safe. Also, there are many things to consider when making a parenting-time schedule. Sending the child back and forth all the time may not be the best solution at this time, so parents may need to reconsider their entire parenting plan.
Some essential questions parents may want to consider include:
- Is the current parenting plan still functional, or does it need to change?
- Does one of the parents have better conditions for home-schooling(for example, do both houses have an equally strong internet connection)?
- Is one of the parents at high risk of getting infected because of a job that requires frequent contact with people?
- Does one of the parents have an alcohol abuse problem, putting their child in danger?
- Which home has outdoor space so the child can safely exercise in the fresh air?
Physical distancing may require separated parents to make temporary alternations to their previous arrangements, prompting reconsideration of parenting-time plans.
Strategies for Better Co-Parenting
Ideally, co-parents will have a plan in place to help them navigate a time of crisis. Some of the most effective strategies for better co-parenting include the following:
Best co-parenting practices during COVID-19 begins with good communication between parents. Crises, such as the pandemic tend to place stress on established communication patterns and often motivate parents to work together to protect their child. Writing down concerns and voicing them appropriately can help ensure that each party is being supported and understood.
A recent study investigated parental stress levels during the pandemic. According to the results, a greater sense of control is linked to reduced stress levels. Working together to create a flexible arrangement can provide all parties with a sense of control and lower stress levels, both of which are essential to a child’s best interests and the entire family’s health.
Modified Parenting Plans
In a radio interview for the program Here & Now, Jann Blackstone, a retired California child custody mediator, suggested writing a temporary parenting plan addressing specific changes needed during the pandemic and then reverting to the old parenting plan once the pandemic is over. She suggests starting with small things like agreeing to call one another should a problem or concern occur or agreeing to discuss any necessary child safeguards openly. The parenting plan should be unique to each family.
Giving the Co-Parent Peace of Mind
There are many ways to give a co-parent a sense of peace. First and foremost, it is crucial to understand the other parent’s concerns and be open to frequent and respectful communication. Being accessible is essential. Parents can also use co-parenting communication apps, such as WeParent and OurFamilyWizard, to stay in touch and parent more effectively.
Many studies have shown that the isolation and unpredictability of the pandemic have been particularly difficult for individuals struggling with alcohol abuse. If a parent struggles with excessive drinking, they can take advantage of accountability tools such as Soberlink. Considered the Gold Standard by thousands of Family Law Professionals, Soberlink’s remote alcohol monitoring system combines a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity to document and send proof of sobriety in real-time. Combining adaptive facial recognition, tamper detection, and Advanced Reporting capabilities, Soberlink has cemented itself as the premier tool to ensure safer co-parenting arrangements and child safety. Use the court-admissible technology focused on improving the lives of families nationwide.
The pandemic has presented many new obstacles for families as they struggle with the challenges of balancing remote work, school, and child-rearing. Communication and flexibility are crucial for effectively weathering this difficult period. For many families, co-parenting arrangements become more complex with alcohol abuse is involved. With the employment of the right strategies, it is possible to create a healthy environment where every member of the family can thrive.