The global pandemic has disrupted more than world economies, tourism and business. It has also affected families and personal relationships. Couples who do not live together may have to endure several weeks or months of separation, and people may have to suspend many of their social activities such as birthdays, anniversaries and reunions until social distancing measures ease up.
But the most affected have been single parents who share custody with their children’s father or mother. Social distancing measures and lockdown guidelines could prevent parents from taking their children to their former partners. The fear of infection has also made it impossible for couples to take their children to their partner’s house, especially if they live in another city. Some parents expressed their reluctance as to how their former partners enforced hygiene practices, such as washing hands and wearing masks.
So what can parents do? First, focus on the child’s welfare.
Make Flexible Arrangements
The child should live in a stress-free environment, especially with school out and lockdown in effect. If your partner is working a job that exposes them to the virus, it’s best to allow the child to stay with the other parent. Make sure that the child still spends some time with your partner, and here is where technology can help. Give your partner the face time they need to spend time with their son or daughter. Make sure that both of you can explain why you need to make these restrictions so that the child understands this is all temporary.
Talk to your partner about how you could revise the scheduled visitations, and how you could make sure that they could spend time with their children. If they are in lockdown and could not visit their child, make sure to discuss it with your child if your co-parent is unable to see them.
Give Your Child a Routine
Children should still have a routine even when they stay at home, and that includes how parents schedule work, family time, and relaxation. If you are the custodial parent, you will need to organize your child’s schedule, so they could still focus on their education even when they’re at home. Give your child enough time to talk to their friends and your partner, and make sure to be there too, so you could share the moment with your child.
Ask Your Legal Advisor
If your partner is using the pandemic as an excuse to keep their child from you, it’s best to ask your family lawyer, so they could give you the best advice at a time like this. Many courts are closed, and your complaint may not be heard until lockdown measures are eased. But many legal advisors understand this is an unprecedented situation, and many might recourse to parental judgement in specific cases.
But the best way to deal with co-parenting issues is to communicate. You and your partner may lead separate lives, but you still need to raise a child and help them become healthy and successful adults.
The pandemic may have thrown a curveball in your plans, but you can talk and make adjustments so you could still become model parents for your child.