Divorces, even when seemingly amicable, never quite end up as clear-cut as both parties would like. This is especially true if children are involved—co-parenting involves a lot of work and both parents have to continue to see each other even while the wounds are still fresh.
The other problem with co-parenting during a particularly messy divorce is the fact that it remains difficult to stay connected with your kids during the days, weeks, or months that they’re not in your custody. Sure, you may see them at family gatherings or other functions, but that isn’t the same as how your life used to be. Here are five ways you can stay connected to your kids that will mean something to them now.
1. Share photos and videos together.
The time you and your children spend together following a divorce is incredibly important, and documenting it with photos and videos is a great way to keep those memories alive, even when you and your kids are apart. A system like ibi can make that even easier since it’s a cloud for pictures that offers automatic syncing via WiFi and over a terabyte of storage space to keep your photos and videos safe. Ibi lets you keep photos organized and share them with different parties using a variety of privacy features, so you don’t need to worry about any photos of your children getting into the wrong hands.
2. Keep a room for them.
If your kids are splitting their time between your home and your ex-partner’s home, having space in your house just for them is critical. If you turn their room into an office place or change the decor, it can feel like you’re trying to erase part of them from your life. Instead, invite them to work on a redesigning project with you after the divorce, so they really feel ownership over their room when they visit.
3. Don’t bad mouth your ex.
Another action you’ll want to avoid is talking negatively about your ex-wife or ex-husband. Especially in a messy divorce, it can be difficult to bite your tongue; however, if you speak poorly about your ex, it may cause other walls to be put up between you and your kids. If you’re really serious about staying positive and connecting with your children in the aftermath of divorce, try to avoid speaking of your ex at all in the presence of your kids.
4. Take up a new hobby together.
One way to forge new bonds with your children is to take up a new hobby together. Whether that’s something like rock collecting or outdoor activity like camping, hiking, or playing a new sport, getting involved in a shared interest can keep your relationship strong, even through the messiest of divorces. Best of all, your son or daughter will think of you whenever they do that activity, ensuring that you stay on their mind even when they’re at your ex’s house.
5. Co-parent with consistency.
When you commit to co-parenting your children with your ex, it’s important to set boundaries and rules. The last thing you want is to create an inconsistent parenting structure where one parent allows your child to do something and the other doesn’t. Even something as simple as watching a PG-13 or R-rated movie can become a crack in your co-parenting strategy if you don’t both stay constant, potentially making it harder to connect with your children.
While what movies your kids watch is a smaller example of an issue you’ll face while co-parenting, medical treatment is far more important to navigate appropriately. After all, when it comes to providing for the health and wellness of your child, getting the proper vaccinations, physicals, and check-ups is a vital part of childrearing.
One way to keep things consistent when it comes to raising your child is having the right family medical doctor. A good physician such as one in the Vanguard network will be there for you and your family as your kids age from infant to child and even adolescent. Having an agreed-upon primary care physician can make it much simpler to get treatment regardless of which parent is responsible for the child, and you can set up HIPPA compliant agreements that allow you to access your kids’ personal health information as parents in case you need to check the medical record for any reason.