If you had kids with your ex, you are going to have to navigate co-parenting. Depending on your relationship, this can sometimes be more difficult than others. Some exes struggle with co-parenting, and others seem to do well with it. The most important things is to do what is best for your kids. Keep these tips in mind so that you can be prepared to co-parent effectively.
How-to Co-Parent Effectively: Raising Kids Together
Keep Drama Away
First, to co-parent effectively, do not bring your marital issues to your kids. It is not fair for your kids to hear one parent vent or complain about the other. Be respectful when talking about your ex. Do not try and get the kids to take sides. If you need to vent your drama, talk with a friend or a therapist. Do not use your kids as messengers for negative news or comments between you and your ex. When you are with your kids, focus on your kids.
Be a Team
Co-parenting is more effective when you work with your ex as a team. Be on the same page and have consistency between both households. This means having similar rules and schedule. Kids can adjust to living in two different homes better if their schedules stay similar.
To co-parent effectively, try and establish similar consequences for broken rules. Enforce consequences the the broken rules, even if the broken rule did not happen in your house. This will each of you to help show support of one another. The same can be said for rewarding good behavior.
Try and make visitations and changing households as smooth as possible. This includes preparing the kids before they go to the other house. Start reminding them a few days before about the upcoming visit. If the kids are young, start helping them pack up their things in advance so that they will not forget anything. You can even pack a familiar reminder for them like a stuffed toy or even a photograph.
Another tip for co-parenting effectively is to make sure you only drop-off and never pick-up your child. If you come “pick-up”, it can make it seem like one parent is taking the child away from the other. Avoid this by choosing to “drop-off” your child instead. By dropping off, you avoid interrupting a special moment as well.
By following these tips, you can work towards co-parenting effectively. If you decide to keep drama away, work as a team, and properly prepare for visitations, it will make this transition for you, your ex and your kids.