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How to Create a More Cohesive Co-Parenting Calendar

How to Create a More Cohesive Co-Parenting Calendar
Building a healthy and stable environment after a divorce can feel pretty impossible. Between the changing settings and ever-moving schedule, your children can feel a bit of uncertainty while navigating this new normal. It’s so important to keep in mind your child’s best interest. Whatever you decide to create as your cohesive co-parenting calendar, ensuring your children have some sort of say in the matter can go a long way. There are so many important details to think about when planning out your schedule, but it is crucial to be flexible for your specific lifestyle. While having a base for communication is essential, it is also necessary to be mindful of your unique life. 
Below we will highlight some important points to make sure you touch upon when looking to emulate a cohesive calendar while co-parenting. There are various different scenarios that can occur but today we are putting a little extra focus on 2 general occurrences. Whether you live close or if you have distance between the two homes, this will be beneficial. Let’s get into it.
If you live close…
Living close by definitely has a lot of perks, however it is extremely important to navigate these waters with care. Too much change or too much flexibility can quickly turn into a negative thing, especially if the children are young. Finding that balance is crucial. We want to create a stable environment for them to flourish, so this cohesive schedule should be openly discussed and workshopped to stay fairly stagnant. 
Communicate as much as possible  
Flexibility is key, and with flexibility naturally comes communication. This may feel like a given, however it is not practiced nearly enough or in a positive manner. Communicating one’s work schedule as well as personal commitments is huge in the early stages of schedule planning. As mentioned before, consistency is the key to success. On the other hand, we have to communicate when that set schedule needs to be altered as well. If you know plans are changing, be very open and honest with your children, and if they are old enough include them in the conversation. If this is something you struggle with, make a plan! When you are initially going over how you will split custody and visitation, make a separate “in-case of emergency” communication plan. How will you contact the other parent and how you will navigate a change in the calendar. There are also many tactics to use to ensure that your communication is positive so that a cohesive family feel will not be left to the wayside when altering the scheduling. 
Commit to the routine
It’s all about the balance. While flexibility is essential, we want to make sure we buy into the existing schedule. When you have a familiar routine in place, it will allow that close-knit feeling between both parents and the children. First, accept this flow into this new normal, your children emulate your behavior and begin to thrive again. Trust and stability are some things they may feel they lack, so starting small and allowing them the luxury of trusting their schedule laid out for everyone will only prove to be successful. 
If you live far…
Living any distance away can definitely affect your dynamic. With travel time and a new environment at play, it can feel even tricker to nail down a perfect, effective co-parenting calendar. There are a lot of tricks to adapt into your everyday life that will ease the transition.
Have your living situations set  
There are many advantages of keeping your same home after divorce as well as positives to moving. To ensure a very cohesive transition, it’s crucial to have your living situation in check before subjecting your kids to a massive amount of change. Any change can affect them, however it’s always a good idea to minimize this in any way you can. To do this, stay on top of your new home needs and consider what your kids would like too. Moving and purchasing a home on your own can be overwhelming, but it’s important to not let the stress impact you or the kids. In order to avoid some of the stress that comes along with buying a new family home, consider preparing ahead of time for things such as getting your mortgage pre-approved early on to know exactly what you can afford as to not get the kids hopes up on something outside of your price range. Involve them in the home viewing process where they can look at the bedrooms and check out the backyard. If they can imagine themselves living there and making fun memories, it will make the transition a lot easier for everyone involved. It’s also important to research your new neighborhood and make an inventory of what will be coming with you to make this process as seamless as possible.  Once you have this all under control, you can now start to plan visits from your children. Make them an area they can call their own in this new space. Providing them a room that is just theirs in this new area and home will create some excitement about the new house. When you are living farther away however, creating these moments can be crucial.
Use technology to your advantage
Fortunately in the age of technology we live in a time where our devices can connect us to loved ones in an instance. If you live a distance away from your children, FaceTime will definitely be incorporated into your schedule. Take advantage! While it may not be FaceTime you utilize, there are numerous video calling applications to incorporate into this versatile calendar. If your child is staying at one guardians home for an extended period of time, make sure you block out time on the calendar or the week to have a scheduled video call. This can incorporate eating dinner together over video, playing a game, or some sort of activity that ensures some quality time. Whatever it is, add it to the agenda! 
There are plenty of ways to make sure co-parenting is a seamless adjustment for you and your children. Ask for their opinion and opt to avoid any excessive travel. Being connected is the goal, and co-parenting can pose a big struggle but when you plan ahead, combatting those issues will be a breeze. 

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