Life during a pandemic presents its fair share of challenges. And for those who co-parent, this can add an additional layer of difficulties. A few key tips that I’ve found useful while co-parenting in a crisis include: teamwork, always coming from a place of empathy, maintaining existing rituals, starting new ones, and above all—putting your kids first no matter what.
1. Get into Team Mode
If co-parenting was a struggle before the pandemic, this may seem like a living nightmare for some parents. In my opinion, the best thing you can do right now is to use this time to get on the same page as a united parental front. Try to leverage this hardship to be a time where you both can show that your kids are more important than the issues you both have. This will not always be smooth, but double down on trying your best.
This is a pandemic. No one knows the right move – there is no rulebook. You never know what another person is going through, so right now is a good opportunity to create a stronger relationship with your co-parent and have important conversations: What are we doing about summer? What if schools don’t reopen in September? Rally around making their lives feel as normal as possible for right now. After all, It’s you and your co-parent against the pandemic.
2. Maintain the “Co” in “Co-Parent”
My schedule as a CEO is demanding with full days of meetings, but I schedule time each day to have homework video sessions, where I handle a set of the homeschooling responsibilities. I enjoy doing homework with my kids, and their mom gets that time off to take a break. It’s a win-win.
3. Maintain Your Rituals
One ritual I’ve always shared with my kids is weekly gratitude journaling. As I tell our boys, you’ve got to be great—but you’ve also got to be grateful. Every Sunday night we write down in our book three things for which we are individually grateful. I know this is not an earth-shattering idea, but this practice has made a world of difference. It resets you and gets you prepped for the week ahead.
The things they write down can be big-ticket items like a place to live, or just the fact that they are safe and healthy. What’s helpful about writing these reflections in a notebook is that you can consult previous entries and jog your memory on truly trying days.
4. Start a Special Project
It’s important to recognize how your kids cope with change. Some of us are doing whatever we can just to make it through and stay sane, while others are thriving in a new routine. For my kids, I know they feel less anxious when we have a routine, so we decided to take this time to start a creative project. I’m a recently published author, and they’ve always taken an interest in creative writing, so we decided to start writing a children’s book about being your authentic self.
It gives them something to feel proud of and look forward to. Your project can be anything from creative writing to crafting a stand-up routine or even learning TikTok dances to show that you’re interested in their hobbies.
Hopefully, these tips can be helpful to your situation. Just like co-parenting before COVID, nothing will ever be perfect, and there will be times when things don’t feel equal or fair. Flexibility, communication, and empathy will bring the best results during a challenging time like this.
And always try to remember, even when the world is turned upside down, co-parenting is about collaboration, not competition.