Separated parents are facing a range of new challenges and co-parenting will get trickier as stay-at-home orders are lifted. One parent may be concerned about child safety when in their former partner’s care, while the other parent thinks about if their ex will adequately follow the current guidelines on social distancing. One example is worry a child is being exposed to COVID-19 due to their co-parent refusing to follow social distancing rules.
As stay-at-home orders are lifted, the directions about social distancing are becoming more ambiguous. Heading back to work, the importance has to be placed on open communication about intended childcare arrangements. Parents will need to decide if the child will wear a mask (and when), and to determine what level of social distancing will be practiced in each home. Will they be practicing the same level of social distancing? If not, how will they handle the situation?
Open communication is key and it can help prevent the child from being caught in the middle of difficult and potentially dangerous situations.
How can co-parents work together?
Embrace & Adapt
Think about if you will be required to work from home and if that is possible when the child is in your care. Even so, make sure social distancing practices are maintained.
Try to engage openly with the other parent about any concerns. Be on the same page about the things you will each do in your households to limit exposure to the virus.
If arrangements cannot be met because of quarantine, try to find solutions together as your goal. Give the other parent plenty of notice. Once the social distancing rules start to ease out, make sure you set aside extra time for the other parent.
Let the other parent know you are having financial issues. People lose jobs or experience a reduction in their income due to the virus. Co-parents need to help each other out in order to keep their children at the centre of the solution.
Teach your kids ways to reduce the risk of spreading of the virus. Wash your hands often and thoroughly, keep the recommended distance and practice social distancing. These routines can become a habit and children learn fastest from their parents. Let the other parent know that you and the other members are following these guidelines. Keep up to date and read the government guide about coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you are planning days out with children, remember to read the locations website details in advance. Most places require tickets to be purchased in advanced online to limit numbers, many places limit the number of people attending from one household and may also require you (and your child) to wear adequate protection.
Everyone has to adapt to uncomfortable changes during the pandemic. This situation is not going to resolve itself overnight. The way we work, socialise, communicate, and parent has changed- therefore reassuring your child that we will get through this, shows them that you care, and most importantly, love them.