Successful Long-Distance Co-Parenting
by BARTHOLOMEW & WASZNICKY
Yes, co-parenting is easier when both parents live near each other, but it’s absolutely possible to have a successful long-distance co-parenting relationship when you plan ahead and avail yourself of the following tips. Whether you’re out of town for just a few days, or you live across the country, here are a few ways you can make the distance feel shorter between you and your kids:
- Storytelling via phone or webcam. A 15-minute story before bed or in the evening can be fun, especially if your child also has the book and you can turn the pages at the same time.
- Postcards. Kids love getting snail mail and email. You can send regular postcards or e-mail cards that let them know you’re thinking about them. Kids especially love funny pictures or words of encouragement for school work and sports.
- Go for shared experiences. If you live out-of-town, but can spend some time in your child’s town, volunteer during your visit at his or her school. You can meet the teacher and some of your child’s friends and their parents. Extracurricular activities and chaperoning trips are great shared experiences.
- Call at different times. Go for spontaneity. Let your child know you are thinking of him or her at different times of the day. Schedules can become rote, just make sure these spontaneous calls are occasional and not so frequent as to become disruptive.
- Use technology. E-mail, text, Skype and webcams keep the conversations flowing, and this is the form of communication your kids are most familiar with.
- Watch TV shows or movies together across the miles. Use technology to connect you and create another shared experience.
Always involve your ex-spouse in your plans to make certain that you are not disrupting plans he or she has made with your child. You want to be in your child’s life as much as time and finances permit when you are co-parenting across the miles, without creating a burden for your child’s other parent.
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