We are going through one of the most turbulent times our country and the world has ever faced. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has disrupted the lives of literally everyone. Our current situation may go on for just a couple weeks, or it could last for several months. As of this writing, no one really knows the final outcome or what the world will look like when this is all over.
As our nation deals with the COVID-19 crisis, divorced parents face many unique challenges. Most of the schools are closed and the kids are at home. But since we are supposed to follow social distancing guidelines, most parents are choosing not to allow their children to go out and play with other kids.
For those who are co-parenting during the coronavirus pandemic, there are a lot of issues that need to be dealt with. First of all, most people have experienced major changes in their schedules. Some have been temporarily laid off or are working from home, while others are working overtime on the front lines to help deal with the crisis.
It could be that both parents are working away from home, in which case you will need to figure out who is going to watch the kids when they are home from school all day. And keep in mind, if “grandma” and “grandpa” have always been your “go to” babysitters, that might not be the best option during the midst of this pandemic as they could be in the high risk group if they catch the virus.
Another scenario could be that one parent is at home and the other is out working. If this is the case, then it would probably make sense for the parent at home to have the kids most of the time, while the other can maybe conduct regular Skype or Facebook messenger conferences in order to stay connected.
Maybe both parents are working at home. If this is the case, it could be an opportunity for the parents to share more evenly in the stress involved with having the kids home from school. With all of this going on, both parents should be actively engaged in the lives of their children, because your kids need you right now.
Parenting Time Revisions because of the Coronavirus
With all the schedule disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis, there is a very good chance that your work or living situation now may not be nearly the same as it was when the original parenting plan was established. In times like these, everyone needs to be flexible and try to work together.
Trying to hold to a plan that never accounted for anything close to a situation like this will cause enormous stress for everyone involved. The best thing to do right now is take a look at your current schedules and the schedules of the kids and try to work out something that everyone can live with.
If you are having a hard time figuring all this out, there is help available. This is a difficult and stressful time, and it may be helpful to have an outside professional assist you with your parenting schedule.
At Advanced Mediation Solutions, we have helped countless couples over the years to develop parenting plans that are customized to fit their unique circumstances. Our mediation services are affordable, and most couples can hash out their plans in just one or two sessions. We also have virtual mediation services, so you can conduct sessions remotely while following all of the current social distancing guidelines.
Helping your Kids through the Coronavirus Crisis
In addition to scheduling, another major issue that must be dealt with during the COVID-19 outbreak is protecting your children and helping them get through it. As mentioned previously, you need to look closely at social distancing guidelines to make sure your kids do not run a higher risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to others. They may not understand why this is so important, and you may have to have some difficult conversations with them.
On the other hand, having the kids at home with nothing else to do can present some opportunities for quality family time that would previously have been unavailable. Many kids are doing distance learning right now, and they may need you to help them with their homework, which could be a good time to bond. This may also be a time to play some games together as a family, or to use technology for you and your kids to connect with other close family members for some virtual fun.
Together We Will Get through This
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that this situation, no matter how long it lasts, will eventually pass. Sooner or later, life will return to normal and we will resume the regular work and activities that give our lives purpose. In the meantime, try to make the best of the situation.
Be patient, be understanding, try to keep conflicts to a minimum, and do what you can to help you and those around you manage the stress. And don’t forget, there are resources available out there if you need them, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.