We’ve written quite a bit about co-parenting after divorce. This is mainly because it is a critical relationship that not only must exist between former spouses but also should be approached with a positive attitude in fairness to your children.
But one aspect of the co-parenting relationship that we haven’t touched on yet is the importance of making the most out of your time with the kids — specifically when you’re not the parent who has primary custody. Inevitably, the spouse with primary custody can spend time with the kids whenever they choose. Meanwhile, the parent who doesn’t must adjust to a new visitation schedule and might feel like they are getting the short end of the stick in the quality-time department.
How visitation schedules are agreed upon post-divorce differs from family to family and may or may not allow for much flexibility. That is why it is important to make the most of the time you do have with your children.
Below are 4 ways to make the most out of your time with the kids in terms of co-parenting after divorce:
Co-parenting after divorce involves having a plan. Rather than sit around the house and “wing it,” clear your schedule during the times you are spending with your kids and make them the focus. Create an itinerary ahead of time that involves trips to the park, zoo, and local events such as festivals and arts and crafts shows. If you are stumped on what to do during an upcoming weekend, ask the kids what they’d like to do, and then make it happen.
Be present at their extracurricular events
Show up to practices, games, recitals, concerts, and milestone events as you would if you were still living in the same house — even if it’s not your weekend with the kids. Beyond sitting in the stands, there are opportunities to coach or volunteer at various events to make the most out of your time with the kids.
Communicate as much as possible
Even when there is downtime during visits, try to avoid situations where the kids are staring at computer screens or mindlessly watching television and instead strike up a few conversations. Co-parenting after divorce also means keeping the communication lines open with their children. Not only will it help your children share their feelings, but it will also help you get to know them better as they get older, and vice versa.
Work out scheduling conflicts with your former spouse
Another goal of co-parenting after divorce is to be a team and work through scheduling conflicts together. There may come a time when your former spouse has to work late or is sick and needs help making sure the kids get taken to school or even picked up. This is your opportunity to be engaged in your child’s life beyond the constraints of a normal visitation schedule.
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As a parent, the most important duty you have is to show your children what a healthy relationship looks like – even in the face of divorce – so that they have something to model themselves after. If you’re a dad, your role with your daughter is what she will base relationships on going forward. Boys will see how you treat their mother.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding co-parenting after divorce. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.