No matter the age of the children you are coparenting, a consistency in the routines at both homes is important. This does not mean everything must be exactly the same everywhere. You should keep your own style, but there should be this comfort level of consistency for your children.
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Making the changes is real hard work, but worthwhile the effort. Here are some rules to help you set up the collaboration with the co-parent:
For children routines are very important. Every day should include some type of schedule. Consistency can be achieved in the time they wake up, when they watch TV or do their homework and meal is being served.
Visitation and particularly the transition between the two home can be difficult for the children. Consistent drop-off and pick-up places and times help develop a routine for saying good-bye and hello. Effective coparenting anticipates on this routine will and will help diminish anxiety during transitions.
Breakfast, luch and dinner times are great moments for consistency. Are the children allowed to watch TV while eating? Can they play before breakfast? What about snacks? In case of food allergies and diets it's clear there must be instructions to be followed, but always make sure they have their meals at regular intervals.
Together with the co-parent sit determine the house rules of each. How can you create similarity to make it easier to move back and forth between the homes. Clarity from the beginning will make co-parenting easier and the children able to know what to expect.
Schoolwork and house chores are good for the development if the children. They are essential elements in coparenting. Consistency in both helps them to develop self-discipline. At the same time you send them the message that their contributions in the house are valuable and important and help them to develop and believe in their abilities.
And then there is this moment of misbehaviour. Are you giving warnings, will there be a time-out? If privileges are going to be revoked, which and for how long? Will the consequences being folowed through at the other house? Make life easier and act united with your co-parent.
The most heard complaint in coparenting is the inconsistency at bedtime. It is healthy for children to go to bed at around the same time every night. Regularity helps them to fall asleep naturally and fast. Discuss the bedtime rituals of the children. Do they have a night light, a special blanket or toy. Are there favourite bedtime stories where you could even share the delight together with your children. Having rested children will benefit both the children and the parents. And the more rested, the more fun.