Developing an effective parenting plan is vital to the well-being of your child. A parenting plan establishes two things: how decisions will be made concerning the care of your child and a schedule for parents to spend time with the child. Having a solid plan will eliminate conflicts in the future and, more importantly, will allow your child to develop reliable expectations. Here are three tips that will help make your parenting plan work:
1. Use a calendar
Kids and parents are busier today than ever before and staying organized is essential to making your parenting plan work. A calendar makes it easier for parents and children to keep track of where they will be and when. Using a calendar that is accessible to both parents will avoid confusion and resulting conflicts. There are many apps that can help parents manage their calendars electronically. In fact, many children find the use of an electronic calendar beneficial for planning their own lives and knowing what to expect.
2. Hone your communication skills
Even with the most detailed parenting plan, conflicts regarding parenting will inevitability arise. When this happens, it is important to think of communication as an extension of your parenting plan. Just as the purpose of a parenting plan is to create the best situation for your child, communicating with your former partner is essential to maintaining a positive environment for your child. Handle conflicts as you might handle a conflict at work—listen to the other person, calmly communicate your position, and try to amicably reach a resolution. You do not need to be best friends with your former partner, but you should try to maintain a respectful relationship for the benefit of your child.
3. Be flexible
Closely observe how your children are reacting to a parenting plan. Are their grades steady? How are they coping emotionally? Sometimes children need an adjustment to a parenting plan—even if the plan is working for the parents. As children adjust to their new lives, or simply grow older, you may need to work with your former partner to find the best arrangement for your child.
At Shaffer Family Law, our devoted custody attorneys have helped many families establish a fair and beneficial parenting plan. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.