A co-parenting calendar is an important part of your divorce proceedings and even more so now during a global pandemic. An effective co-parenting calendar takes into account the physical, emotional and developmental needs of the children before anything else, including before the needs, wants and desires of the parents even. It is not about you – the parent – only about what is best for your child. It will ensure that the children continue to have stable care and as much consistency as possible without denying their need to have both parents fully in their lives.
A co-parenting calendar makes it clear who has the responsibility for the children and when, so that nothing slips through the cracks and conflicts are minimized over parenting time and responsibility. Now more than ever is the time to be kind, clear and concise with your co-parent. There is enough stress as it is being in quarantine, let alone being disorganized with your communication with your ex-spouse. The more detailed the calendar, the less opportunity for conflict.
Some benefits of a detailed co-parenting calendar are:
- A set schedule can help everyone adapt to life after divorce
- You and the other parent know exactly what is happening on any given day
- You can make regular and consistent plans for your children
- Your children will feel more confident and secure knowing their schedule in advance
- Legal costs are inherently reduced because of fewer disagreements on parenting access
- It reduces the potential for arguments, miscommunications and conflict
When you and your co-parent sit down together to create an effective co-parenting calendar, it helps to have all the relevant dates, times and other scheduling details in front of you. Because you and the other parent are potentially dealing with a years’ worth of scheduling, you should not rely on your memory when creating a parenting time schedule. Look to your child’s school calendar for important dates, including parent/teacher conferences, half days, school breaks and any after-school activities.
Parents should avoid lengthy overnight access for small children, too many transitions between households during the week,or unreasonable transition times (i.e. early morning or late at night). Do not restrict the children’s access to the other parent – children thrive when both parents are equally involved.
To ensure your co-parenting calendar is meeting your child’s needs, try keeping a journal in order to recognize patterns in your children’s behavior and note any parts of the schedule that just don’t work. Be prepared to re-engineer your calendar to one that works best for your child. Be open to listening to the other parent on issues that work or don’t work.
If your co-parent is not open to a co-parenting calendar, you are better off producing one than not. It shows that you are actively engaged in your child’s well-being and willing to consider their need to spend time with their other parent.