UK parents also share their virtual co-parenting experiences
Latest data shows there are approximately 2.4m split families in the UK¹, meaning lockdown is a co-parenting challenge many didn’t expect to face.
To help the nation co-parent effectively and get the most out of virtual time with their children during lockdown, watch and sunglass specialists, Tic Watches, has worked with parenting experts and families to reveal some top tips for success.
Agree on a schedule and stick to it
Carol Robbins and Daphne Sohl, parenting coaches at The Practice, advise: “This is a stressful and confusing time for us all, but especially for children. Their usual routines are disrup
ted and they are no longer playing and social
ising with their friends at school whilst spending much more time indoors than usual.
“Because of this, sticking to a schedule is so important. Children really benefit from knowing exactly when to expect time with both parents, so try and keep to your previous schedule as much as possible, and increase the time spent with both parents where necessary for extra support.”
Take advantage of modern technology
While co-parenting without face-to-face time is never ideal, thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to get time with your children from a distance. Apps such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, and Google Hangouts are perfect for getting face time with the people we love during lockdown.
When it comes to helping children with
homework virtually, work as a team to get tasks uploaded on Google documents, allowing multiple people to access the file. Both parents can then help with homework during a video call and even pick up some of the marking at the end of the day.
Do more with your virtual time
As well as asking them about their schoolwork and any of the activities they have done that day, why not plan ways for you to do things together, while apart?
Angela Spencer, natural parenting expert, award-winning author and founder of Babyopathy, advises: “In these times of separation, make sure to share some activities virtually like watching a film or playing games while on a video call. You could also record a bedtime story video for the other parent to play or sing a lullaby to play to a baby at nap time - remember it is our sensory world that defines us, so as much as possible let them see, hear and feel the other parent even though touch and hugs are on hold for a while.”
Ensure your messaging is the same
This time is particularly stressful for families trying to co-parent, and it’s easy to get mixed up in a disagreement about the best approach.
Carol Robbins, adds: “It’s important to remember you are on the same side and make a conscious effort to work together, putting aside any differences for the sake of managing the situation best for your children. Avoid having conversations about co-parenting around them and instead communicate your decisions together, to avoid them playing you off one another or becoming confused.”
UK co-parents have also spoken about their experiences, revealing how they are tackling lockdown and keeping their family functioning, as well as the struggles they’ve experienced along the way:
Claire, 45, from Manchester, has two children aged eight and ten living with her while she works from home: “My ex, Jason, and I definitely struggled at the beginning of lockdown. He was keen to keep seeing the children as usual, but I had to make the decision to stop him from coming over for now. At first, he was resistant to the idea, but soon realised it was the best approach.
“We’re trying to keep our usual schedule of two evenings and time at the weekends. When it comes to homeschooling, Jason has been calling the kids in his lunch breaks to teach them a little and help me spread the workload, which has been a great help.”
Fiona, 32, Shropshire, lives with five-year-old Tia : “I’ve been furloughed but my ex, Tom, hasn’t. However he is currently isolating with his mum who needs a bit of extra help around the house, so his days are pretty packed, which means a lot of Tia’s time is managed by myself.
“I’m making schedules for her to stick to, which helps both her and I have a structure amongst the madness. But being isolated with a child means I am definitely lacking adult conversation, which Tom struggled to understand at first. But since then, Tom has been helping me by video calling Tia when I am talking to my friends on group calls, as well as his usual time with her, which I’m really grateful for.”
Jake, 31, Newcastle, is isolating with eight-year-old Arthur: “I’m having to virtually co-parent with my current partner, Josie, who is of high risk so had to go into isolation with her parents when our son was still attending school and it’s definitely been a challenge!
“My main advice would be just to communicate as much as you can, but don’t let your children see anything but a united front. They’re relying on you now more than ever, not only to fill their time but to indicate everything is going to be okay - so be as positive as possible!”
Daniel Richmond, Managing Director at Tic Watches, comments: “Time with our kids is precious, and just like many other areas of our lives, it’s been impacted by the virus. But it’s great to see that parents are rising to the challenge and working together to get through this difficult time. We hope these tips and encouraging stories from UK families will help those who are struggling to see there are lots they can do to get the parent-child time they need, even if it’s all virtual.”
For more expert advice on how to successfully virtually co-parent, please visit: https://www.ticwatches.co.uk/blog/2020/04/eight-tips-for-co-parenting-during-lockdown/