Co-parenting with your ex-partner is a steep learning curve but keeping up the lines of communication between parents is vital, particularly for children. For children, learning to manage two schedules and working out when they’re going to be with mum and when they’re going to be with dad, can be a daunting prospect.
One mum has gone viral on TikTok with her simple “calendar hack” which has helped her four-year-old daughter understand what days she’s going to be with which parent.
Using an erasable whiteboard calendar, the mum simply uses two different coloured markers to number the calendar. The days written in blue are the days her daughter is with her, and the days written in black mean the little girl is going to be with her dad.
A small red dot on the date indicates when she is going to be transitioning from one house to another.
“My daughter was struggling with transitions, so making her a visual to look at has given her a sense of control over the situation, which in turn, has given her some comfort,” the mum explained in the video.
She added the colour-coding technique also helped her daughter count down the days until she was seeing her dad again. So rather than “waking up every morning and asking when she’s going to see her dad”, the little girl can simply see it on the calendar and count down the days herself, bringing a sense of stability to her life.
The colour-coded calendar would certainly work with older children too, so parents who are currently separated might like to consider having the same system in both homes.
Technology has made communication easier and there are a number of apps and platforms available for families to co-ordinate schedules across multiple households.
For a handy list of apps and websites you can access, click on this link:
For an “old school” approach in cases where parents have difficulty communicating about their children, the court often orders parents to use a communication book.
A communication book provides a way for parents to communicate important issues and events relating to their child without face-to-face interaction, in order to avoid disputes.
The child typically carries the book in their bag between visits to each parent. It is preferable if it is a bound book with numbered pages.
It is important that parents only make entries in the book that are brief and child focussed. It should not be used for argumentative or self-serving reasons.
Other tips for communicating with children and your ex:
- Keep a private diary of significant child matters.
- Consider preparing a roster of your child’s activities to be kept on hand for both parents.
- Look into apps and other software for electronic communication.
- Consider a colour coded calendar for parents’ days with the child. Make sure both parents have the same system in both homes.
- Be courteous – for example, return your child’s clothing to the other parent at the end of their time with you.
- Both parents should know if the child has any medical appointments.
- Tell the other parent if you are running late for changeover.
- Inform your child’s school of the separation, and keep any contact details up to date.
If you are separated, or are about to separate, contact our family law experts at Michael Lynch Family Law. We’re here to help you through this time. Call our office on: (07) 3221 4300 or email: [email protected]