long distance parents covid-19

Long-Distance Co-Parenting During COVID-19

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Co-parenting after divorce comes with its own set of challenges. Maintaining a sense of connection with your kids is even more difficult as a long-distance parent. The current impact of COVID-19 only adds additional layers of stress.

With social distancing rules in place, traveling to see your children becomes difficult. The same goes for situations where your kids travel to you. Even when together, restrictions limit your activity options. You can’t take the kids to a baseball game if there aren’t any.

Still, though seeing your children has become more difficult, you have various ways to stay connected.

Related Reading: 5 Co-Parenting Strategies for Divorce Parents

Communication 

Since long-distance parents often aren’t able to see their kids as often as they want, other forms of communication play an important role. These tools become even more important now, especially if travel restrictions keep your family apart.

Fortunately, there are many ways to communicate and connect. Try setting up FaceTime or Zoom calls on specific dates and times. It may not be as good as in-person visits, but they benefit from seeing your face. And you from seeing theirs.

If video chats aren’t an option, regular phone calls and texts are also good alternatives. Just make sure you don’t overstep any bounds in the parenting plan. It’s still important to play by the rules and avoid any unnecessary tension between you and the other parent.

Speaking of the parenting plan, keep as close to the schedule as possible.

This gives your kids, and you, something to look forward to and breaks up what often becomes a boring day stuck at home. Regular chats also build a routine and help establish a sense of normalcy that often alleviates anxiety. Everyone needs that right now, especially your kids.

Sticking to the parenting arrangement, even virtually, also benefits any future custody cases. Taking advantage of your scheduled time with the kids demonstrates your desire to remain an involved parent. That reflects well on any claim you make down the road.

Most of all, it’s important to keep the lines of communication as open as possible.

Related Reading: Criminal Charges and Child Custody

Activities for Long-Distance Parents

Even if you’re unable to visit your kids because of COVID-19 restrictions, you can still have fun and find creative ways to interact.

If you use video chats, set up small activities or games. For instance, for younger children, grab any arts and crafts material you have around the house. You can talk and bond as you each create your masterpieces. There’s the added bonus of having your own mini art show at the end.

This concept also works for other activities. Read them a book over FaceTime or teach them to play guitar on Zoom. Whatever their passion, find a way to engage with them.

Right now is the time for long-distance parents to use your imagination.

It’s certainly not the same as spending time with them in person. And for younger children, you may have a hard time keeping their attention or keeping them engaged. But it helps you maintain your connection in fun, inventive ways. Even if you can’t physically spend time together, you can still share quality time. 

Related Reading: How COVID-19 Impacts Custody Arrangements

Social Distancing 

Even for long-distance parents able to see your kids, social distancing puts a strain on what you can and can’t do as a family. But you still have ways to make the most out of your time together.

There are tons of options for family fun while sticking to the guidelines.

Outside activities offer great ways to enjoy the fresh air and nature while keeping a safe distance. Family movie nights, card games, and puzzles all present opportunities to share time with your kids.

Regardless of how you spend your time together, social distancing doesn’t always put an end to remaining close and staying connected. More important than the activities you choose, making the most of the time you have together should be the main goal.  

Related Reading: What is Joint Custody?

Remain Positive 

A lot of long-distance parents feel the pressure to keep their children entertained. Especially if you had big plans during this time, like a trip or a birthday. While it may not feel like it, COVID-19 quarantine is still an opportunity to spend important moments together.

How you handle this situation as a parent will reflect in your children’s mood. So, as difficult as it may be, try to remain positive and keep reminding them this situation is temporary. 

However, if you’re stuck in a rut and keeping a positive attitude becomes more and more difficult, create a list of activities you want to do as a family. Each time you’re together try to accomplish something from the list. Mark these activities in a calendar or set a reminder in your phone. It helps keep your minds on things you want to do together.

No one knows how long quarantine is going to last. Even if you’re not able to physically be with your children, or social distancing makes spending time with them difficult, it’s worthwhile for long-distance parents to set up alternative methods of communication and parenting.

Use the channels of communication you have available. Get creative where you can. Most importantly, try to remain positive and remind yourself and your kids this too shall pass. 

Related Reading: My Son Wants to Move In With Me, Can He?

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