Law Offices of Michael Gast
A Family Tradition of Representation Since 1950

6 tips for parenting in challenging times

The last 15 months have been a challenging time for parents. Many have had to juggle helping children learn from home on top of their normal work duties amid the ongoing health crisis. Plus, they have had to navigate more than a year of how to keep their children healthy, whether they should allow their children to have playdates with other kids or participate in youth sports. For divorced parents, the challenges have been even more difficult.

Some divorced parents may have had a hard time adapting to school schedule changes and their custody schedule. Some may have disagreed on limiting their children’s interactions with people outside the home this last year. Some may have not had the same perspective about how often their children should wear masks.

How can parents overcome issues like this in a challenging time?

Here are some co-parenting tips to keep in mind until the pandemic completely ebbs:

  1. Try to remain flexible. Remember that this continues to be an unprecedented situation. You may need to allow more changes to your custody schedule than normal, even in the coming months. Your ex’s stepchildren could contract COVID or your ex may find themselves out of work unexpectedly. You need to try to be understanding and yet be mindful if you think your ex is being manipulative.
  2. Try to agree on what counts as risky behavior. Follow the Center for Disease Control’s guidance on current COVID-19 health protocols and keep up to date about when a vaccine may be approved for children your child’s age.
  3. Set ahead extra time this summer for your child to spend with both sets of grandparents, extended family members and even with your ex if interaction has been limited due to distance, health concerns or how much interaction with the public your spouse has had because of their job.
  4. Keep your communication lines open and continue to respond to messages from your spouse in a timely manner to deal with any unexpected changes.
  5. Try to agree on screen time limits, especially as COVID restrictions lift or children can spend more time outdoors during the summer. Your children have understandably had a lot of screen time in the past 15 months. It now is easier to engage them in outdoor activities. Try to do that as much as you can.
  6. Watch for signs of anxiety from your children. As health mandates lift, your child may show anxiousness about being in crowds or being in a public place without a mask on. Take time to reassure them that you are following health guidelines and are keeping their health safety in mind.

For parents of younger children, life may not get back to “normal” for several months still. Keep in mind that this challenge will pass and work to keep your co-parenting relationship strong despite this challenging time you are facing.