Last Updated on August 21, 2021.
Co-parenting can be a difficult task. There are times when you’ll want to put your kids first, but it’s hard and frustrating because co-parenting is so much more complicated than single parenting. Co-parents need to communicate with each other about their schedules and children’s needs for the week ahead of time if they hope to get anything accomplished around the house or with the kids. This blog post will offer 13 tips that should help make co-parenting go a lot smoother!
What is Co-Parenting?
Co-parenting is the act of two parents working together to raise their children. Co-parenting can happen when the couple is divorced or never married, and it may also include more than one child (biological) from both partners.
Why is Co-Parenting So Difficult?
Co-parenting is difficult because co-parents often disagree on parenting styles, schedules, and child care responsibilities. Co-parenting can also be difficult because of the lack of time available for one co-parent when both are working full or part-time jobs. It can also get complicated when you start adding step-parents and blending families.
Tips to Succeed at Co-Parenting
If you’re ready to master co-parenting, here are 13 tips to set you off on the right foot.
Put your child first
First and foremost, put your kids first. Of all our co-parenting tips, this is the most important. Your kids are a shared responsibility, so make sure to communicate with your co-parent about schedules and child care responsibilities. Co-parents should work together on a parenting plan that works for both of them.
Set clear and consistent boundaries
Co-parents should set clear boundaries together and stick to them. These can include limits on how much time the kids spend with each other, what they’re doing together, and when/where they are allowed to see each other. Co-parenting works best if there is a balance between your co-parent’s parenting style and yours.
Have a solid parenting plan
Parenting plans are important because they can help co-parents find balance with their kids. Co-parenting doesn’t work if one parent is doing all the parenting and the other has no responsibilities. Co-parents should discuss what each person’s primary responsibility will be, such as school pick up or bedtime routines.
Create a shared parenting calendar
A shared calendar is an extremely valuable tool for co-parents. Co-parenting calendars should include each person’s schedule, as well as the kids’ activities and any other important events that would require time with one another or the children.
Outline big parenting goals & stay in sync
Parenting goals can help keep everyone on the same page. Co-parents should discuss these together and work towards them as a team to make sure they are in sync with what each person needs from their co-parent.
Find a communication strategy that works for you both
Communication style and strategy are an important, but often underrated part of co-parenting. Co-parents need to find what works best for them and make sure that they’re both happy with the way in which they communicate about their kids and schedules.
Remember it’s a two-sided street.
Have a monthly parenting meeting
Monthly parenting meetings are another great way to stay on the same page with your co-parent and make sure that everything is going smoothly. Co-parents should discuss any issues they may have, what’s been working or not for them lately, and how it will affect their children in the future.
Keep detailed documentation like parenting was a business
Co-parenting should be treated like a business. It’s important to keep records of how often each person takes care of the kids, what they do together, and anything else that relates to co-parenting. Co-parents should also keep records of any changes in time spent with their children so there are no surprises down the road!
Do not undermine your co-parent
Co-parenting requires teamwork. Undermining your teammate is not being a part of the team. Co-parents should be aware that they are both leaders and parents, so it’s important to never undermine one person over another as this will only lead to mistrust or resentment between them.
Find a coach or therapist that specialize in co-parenting
You don’t have to do it alone! Find a coach or a therapist that specializes in co-parenting to give you advice and strategies for keeping your relationship with your co-parent healthy. Co-parents should not be afraid to ask for help when they need it!
It’s also a good idea to follow popular parenting blogs featuring parenting experts. You might find little nuggets of wisdom in their posts!
Keep your kid out of discussions & arguments
Co-parenting is full of adult conversations. Many of which should not be discussed in front of kids. Co-parents should always keep their children out of any disagreements or discussions about parenting.
Learn how to disagree respectfully
Disagreeing is ok! Find a way to disagree respectfully. You can disagree respectfully by not making any personal comments, speaking calmly and respectfully to each other, listening to what the other person has to say without interrupting them or yelling. Co-parent disagreements are like any relationship disagreement: they aren’t perfect but you can find a way as long as you’re willing!
Project empathy and positivity constantly
Maintain an attitude of empathy and positivity. This will help you to not take your co-parenting disagreements too seriously and will help keep the peace. Co-parents should always try to understand where their co-parent is coming from before making any judgments or decisions about a disagreement they may have had with them!
The Bottom Line
Co-parenting can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. With these co-parenting tips, you can navigate this tricky family situation to raise kids who thrive. Co-parents should always make sure they are on the same page with one another and that they’re both happy with what their co-parent is doing. They also need to find a way of communicating about co-parenting that works best for them, as well as keep records of important dates and events for when they are co-parenting.
What You Should Do Next…
Are you ready for more activities to build a rock-solid bond with your kids? Try our Connected Parent Challenge! It’s 15 Days of 15 Minute activities that are sure to improve your connection, diminish bad behavior, and create lasting memories. Plus, I’ll deliver more amazing parenting strategies to your inbox weekly (don’t worry, unsubscribe any time!).
Connect with like-minded moms (and dads!) in our free online community. You’ll find a plethora of resources to help you through your parenting challenges. Plus, you’ll find me there! And I’d love to connect.
Do you need actionable strategies right now? Register for this free 60-minute webinar titled How to Get Kids to Listen, Without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control. You’ll walk away with parent-tested tactics to get your kids to listen starting today.