Today we brought five suggestions for you on “co-parenting Australia”. The Australian Government restrictions are frequently changing to ensure the safety of the people and this means there has been more people in self-isolation and the norm of daily living has changed.
Parents are working from home and schooling their children at home also, to a large degree, has moved online which can be stressful for many families. For parents who are co-parenting the new and frequently changing circumstances can add stress.
1. Keeping your child updated
For a parent, it is natural to want to protect your children from negativite news or anything which may upset them, but in these unprecedented times talking to your child and being as open and honest as you can, may help them understand why things may be different for some time. When speaking to your child about COVID-19 remember to:
– Share information which is age-appropriate, this includes minimising information that may overwhelm them and sticking to facts, and explaining to them that some information online or that they may hear may not be true;
– Encourage your child to ask questions;
– Be considerate and sensitive to any fear or anxiety they may have;
– Focus on why changes to their routine are necessary; and
– Remain reassuring and calm.
Talking to the other parent, if possible, and agreeing on the best way to approach a topic ensures your child is getting consistent messages. The support of both parents may assist the adjusting process for your child.
2. Meeting your obligations with respect to Court Orders and Agreements
During COVID-19 you are still required to meet the terms of any current court orders and parenting agreements you have in place unless both parents agree on changed arrangements or you have a good reason that you cannot meet your obligations.
If some aspects of your agreement or court orders are affected by travel restrictions, quarantine rules, school or work closures ensure you advise the other parent as soon as possible and work together to create a solution which is suitable to everyone.
3. Working with the other parent
If your arrangements are required to change when dealing with those changes it is important to consider how you would like the other parent to engage you about these issues and try to model that behaviour.
If possible and it is suitable for your child, make accommodations to the other parent and if necessary, ask for accommodations you may need. For example, if time cannot occur at one point, try and suggest time occur at another point. Remember it is important for your child to see the normality in having to adapt during these times.
4. Where you can, maintain your routine
While it may be necessary for you to make changes to your arrangements, as best as you can, it is important to try and maintain some of your child’s ‘normal’ daily routine.
Routines are important in ensuring your child feels safe. Structuring your child’s day with regular mealtimes and betimes can often bring a sense of security and comfort during a time with overwhelming change and uncertainty. All children and parents will be able to benefit from mutually agreed to give and take.
5. Staying positive and patient
It is important to understand that this situation will not be resolved overnight. The way we socialise, communicate, work and parent has drastically changed. By making a conscious effort to embrace the positive and joyful moments in each day will encourage your child to do the same during this difficult time.
Encourage staying connected by the telephone, online and video chats, or social media, this can be a great way for your child to speak and see loved ones who they may be unable to see face to face.
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