COVID-19 has touched every single aspect of our daily lives. From the way we eat to how we spend our time, there is nothing that has come out of quarantine unscathed. Unsurprisingly, this means the way we co-parent our children in split custody situations has also changed.
Splitting custody of children is hard enough, and this is made even harder by the restrictions COVID-19 has put on what we can do with our kids this summer. For parents that have more limited custody, there is already a lot of pressure to keep children entertained for the entirety of their shorter stay.
Finding things to keep our kids occupied is made twenty times more difficult when there are restrictions on where we can go and what we can do with them. Fortunately, fine summer weather offers plenty of bonding opportunities in the great outdoors, where COVID-19 is less likely to spread. Fun!
Here are a few ways you can make the most out of the time with your children during your visitation in the age of a global pandemic.
Engage Your Children in Household DIYs
There is nothing more satisfying than being able to share in a job well done with your children! Household DIYs are a great way to engage children while teaching them valuable skills. Plus—things will start finally getting done around the house. Score!
While in the grip of COVID-19, you shouldn’t feel nervous about undertaking ambitious or longer projects. It is very likely you will have plenty of time to complete your projects before social distancing guidelines are lifted (if ever!).
However, be careful not to rope your children into something too monotonous or boring, or they may come to resent the project or even worse: you!
The best projects to undertake are ones that your kids will get use out of after the fact. For instance, it is no fun to redo the molding in mommy’s bedroom. However, kids of all ages would be happy to paint a wall, build a treehouse, weed the garden, etc.
Invest your kids in the process by engaging them at every stage along the way. If you are revamping your backyard, your children can help design the new layout. If they are helping you refinish your deck, let them choose the wood. This kind of engagement will keep them satisfied and give them a sense of accomplishment.
Another awesome benefit of creative and handy DIY crafts is that they boost children’s self-esteem. Score!
Be Generous with Your Co-Parent, Your Children, and Yourself
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how you choose to spend your time with your children. This is even truer in the era of COVID-19! We all have a moral imperative to make the most out of time with our loved ones, and this can put a lot of pressure on relationships to maintain a perfect façade.
However, pretending everything is fine when you, in fact, do not feel fine is doing a disservice to your co-parent, your children, and yourself. It is natural to have a lot of anxiety surrounding the uncertainty of what will become our “new normal.”
Don’t push yourself to be at a “ten” every minute of every day you spend with your kids. This will only exhaust you and them. Similarly, don’t expect too much of your co-parent. Mistakes will be made, and you need to trust in one another that you both have only the best intentions for your children. So be kind!
If you are in the midst of an unpleasant custody case or arrangement surrounding father’s rights or some other disagreement, do not let your anger or resentment cloud your judgment. More than ever, your children need a united front from their parents in the face of so many scary new possibilities.
If the worst were to happen and you were forced to isolate yourself from your children for quarantining purposes, you can still maintain a healthy relationship with them! In this digital age, there is really no excuse for not keeping tabs on your kids from afar. Set up a consistent time for video chats or phone calls every day or every few days to keep an open line of communication. Or, if your children are into video games, find a game you can both enjoy at a distance. Fortunately for us parents, there are a ton of great video game options that are accessible for kids that won’t drive you mad with boredom. There are so many possibilities for digital fun that you might even be overwhelmed by the choices!