Parenting Time – get 50/50 plus time with these 4 strategies for a better divorce lifestyle.
Even parents who share equal parenting time can feel like they are missing out on part of their children’s lives. And even worse, the children may feel that they are missing out on their parent. However there are four simple ways that parents can become more involved in their child’s life, bond with their child more, and spend extra time together, all without taking a moment away from the other parent.
Here are four ways to have 50/50 plus parenting time.
1. Extracurricular. Attend your child’s extracurricular events even when it is not your parenting day. Even better: offer to be a coach, a team parent, scout leader or a carpool driver. This will allow you to engage with your child with more frequency and bond over a shared activity. Always get your co-parent’s approval before you sign your child up for any activity. Approaching it from the perspective of the activity, giving each of you more parenting time, rather than the activity taking away your co-parent’s time, might be helpful. Whether your child is into theater, debate, drum lessons or field hockey, enjoying their extracurricular activities with them gives you more time and also special bonding.
2. Educational. School provides additional opportunities to engage with your child. For younger children, you can volunteer to work in the classroom, go on field trips, or help out at school carnivals and events. Older children may need parents to assist with drop off and pick up, field trips, and school dances. After school clubs, arts and athletics, and special events like graduation, all usually provide parent-volunteer opportunities. In addition to spending more time with your child, you will be doing it in their world, which will help you get to know them better.
There is an easy solution that solves both problems — share these moments.
3. Communication. Single parents often feel that they miss out on their child’s small moments — those funny little things that a child says, losing a tooth, or hitting a new milestone. At the same time, parents are wistful that they no longer have a partner to share these moments with. There is an easy solution that solves both problems — share these moments.
When your child shares a story about school, or your baby rolls over for the first time, or your teenager experiences their first crush, take a picture and text your co-parent. This gives you the opportunity to share, to strengthen communication, to help your co-parent and child bond, and to help your co-parent feel that they’re not missing anything. Even if your co-parent does not similarly share with you, it can feel great to reach out and share these small moments with them.
True co-parenting is working together as a team to raise your child with a unified front despite being in separate houses.
4. Co-parenting. Many parents who believe that they are co-parenting are actually parallel parenting — meaning, communicating only as necessary and raising the child in two separate and distinct homes.
True co-parenting is working together as a team to raise your child with a unified front despite being in separate houses. Co-parents communicate on daily schedules, discipline, diet, and parenting philosophy. Co-parents work together to decide when a child will have a cell phone, a driver’s license, a first job. As a co-parent, you are truly involved in all of the aspects of your child’s life. Your child knows that both parents are fully involved, and this provides a great sense of security for them. It mitigates the loss they may feel when one parent is away and eases transition time between homes. More and more co-parents are also having family dinners, celebrating holidays together, even vacationing as a family.
When co-parents can spend time together, they are getting more than 50% parenting. The children are getting more than 50% of a parent. And the family continues to bond and build new memories.
For healthy parents, co-parenting is the single best thing they can do for their children and for each other.
Whatever your parenting time, there are ways that you can expand it, without intruding on the other parent’s time. These opportunities, be they extracurricular, educational, communication or co-parenting, not only provide more time and engagement for parent and child but also strengthen the bond. Now that you know four ways to create 50/50 plus parenting, go make some memories!
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