3 Ways to Help Your Kids Understand Your Parenting Plan with the OFW Calendar
If your parenting plan has changed recently with the start of school, your children may currently be experiencing some slight disorientation due to their changes in schedule. Not only are they acclimating to their school hours, they may also be readjusting to the more regular pattern of your parenting schedule, particularly if it was disrupted during the summer vacation by trips or extended stays. With young children especially, they may experience anxiety if they can’t make sense or anticipate where they’ll be spending the night, who will be picking them up from events, or when they’ll next see either parent.
OurFamilyWizard’s shared parenting schedule offers families many opportunities to keep children informed and reduce their anxiety when it comes to parenting time. Here are three different ways you can give your children the information they need to reduce their worries.
Using the OurFamilyWizard calendar, colour-coded days on the calendar inform you at a glance where your child will be spending the night. When printed out, your children will be able to easily see which parent they’ll be staying with at any point. Consider using your child’s favourite colours for you and your co-parent, making it easier for them to remember which colour corresponds to each of you. Since parents can create individualized colour schemes for their own accounts, coordinate with your co-parent to use the same colours to reduce confusion. Both parents can print calendar copies to have at each house, ensuring that children have ready access to their schedule no matter where they are. Depending on the age of your children, you can also choose to print your schedule in different time frames. Older children may benefit from seeing their schedule in monthly intervals, while younger children may do better with simpler weekly schedules.
Decorate Your Calendar
If living in two separate homes makes your children anxious, even simpler worries like remembering their favourite stuffed animal can spiral into larger issues. Engaging your kids in a fun activity that makes your parenting schedule just another part of the routine can help to diminish those fears. Whether you decide to do a monthly or weekly calendar, whenever it’s time for a new one to be printed, sit down with your child to decorate it with stickers or drawings. Take this as an opportunity to see if they have any questions about the upcoming week or month. Going through the schedule with them slowly can also give them a better handle on the weeks to come, making them more confident in moving back-and-forth between parents.
Display It Prominently
Once the schedule is sufficiently decorated, hang it somewhere prominent so your child sees it consistently. The fridge is always a good location, but you can also consider hanging it in your child’s room if they have a whiteboard or pinboard. Young children won’t be able to commit their entire schedule to memory, and even though they may worry about their schedule, they may not immediately think to consult the calendar to calm their fears. By hanging the calendar in a common area with heavy use, it’ll be easier for you and your children to refer to it more frequently. To help get them into the habit of reading the calendar, you can also ask them questions about upcoming events.
No matter where you decide to hang your parenting schedule, providing your child with a detailed view of the upcoming days will help to reduce their anxiety about separate households. It’ll be easy to make your shared calendar a fun and engaging activity that can be enjoyed together. If both you and your co-parent print calendars for your homes, it can also create a sense of continuity for your children when living across two houses. How does your family use the shared parenting calendar on OurFamilyWizard? Come share with us on Facebook.