The Ultimate Calendar for Divorced Parents
If you follow a shared parenting schedule after your divorce or separation, having a colour-coded calendar is essential for preventing conflict. Everyone needs to be on the same page when parenting from two houses. Otherwise, you can get pushed out of sync, your communication can suffer, and mistakes become that much more likely. Preventable mishaps can then quickly snowball into full-blown co-parenting conflict, and everyone in the family feels the effects.
You and your co-parent may be tempted to simply plan your parenting arrangements through email, text, or a standard calendar application. But this manual method often cannot provide the specificity and accuracy necessary for keeping co-parenting free from conflict after separation.
One miscounted weekend, inaccurately recorded holiday, or poorly implemented modification request—all easy mistakes to make when planning your family's schedule in 365-day chunks—can invite chaos. And if the relationship is already strained, these small bumps in the road can end up feeling mountainous.
A Better Co-Parenting Calendar
When it comes to scheduling, co-parenting needs are particularly unique. Don't expect the typical calendar application to be up to the challenge.
To stay on track, the application you use should be able to document your parenting schedule, holiday exceptions, and parenting time modification requests effortlessly.
Get to know the topics and capabilities that the best calendars for divorced or separated parents should always cover:
Entering your parenting schedule is the most basic requirement of any co-parenting app. An effective calendar will handle parenting schedules and events separately. For absolute clarity, the parenting schedule should have a distinct appearance from doctor's appointments, school functions, and play-dates.
With OurFamilyWizard, the parenting schedule tool equips you with ready-to-use templates for common parenting time patterns, making it quick and easy to build out your family's routine. You can also set precise times for parenting time transitions so that you can always reference exactly when your kids are moving between their two houses.
The OurFamilyWizard Calendar is colour-coded with the assigned parenting schedule while events are listed on individual dates. This makes checking your parenting schedule a cinch. Instead of having to wade through other events and entries, you can understand the big picture with a simple glance at the calendar.
Although many co-parents have regularly repeating schedules, a co-parenting calendar should allow for some customization to the routine. Your schedule may repeat regularly now, but as your child grows and their needs change, your routine may change as well. You'll need a flexible system that offers the same level of documentation for both irregular and standard schedules.
Parenting Time Modification Requests
Requesting changes to a parenting schedule can be tricky conversations to approach, even when co-parents are on the best of terms.
To prevent disagreements about who agreed to what, when, and in exchange for which dates, OurFamilyWizard created the one-of-a-kind Trade/Swap™ tool. By standardizing modification requests, and imposing some common sense guidelines, the Trade/Swap™ tool simplifies these exchanges.
Using this tool, parents can document requested changes to the schedule, indicate whether the update is an exchange of parenting time, and submit to their co-parent for review. Co-parents can then approve, refuse, or suggest a different solution. And every step of the process is documented and can be easily downloaded in a report when needed.
Specialized tools like Trade/Swap™, plus reliable documentation, can prevent confusion and conflict from clouding your co-parenting communication.
Holidays and Travel
Holidays and special occasions produce some of our happiest memories. This is still true after a divorce, but mishandling the scheduling of these one-time alterations can diminish a family's enjoyment of the event.
Because whom children spend time with during holidays does not always align perfectly with regularly scheduled parenting time, the best co-parenting calendar will have a specific tool for holidays that allows parents to override the schedule without needing to modify it directly.
Modifying your parenting schedule as you enter it into a calendar to accommodate holidays and vacations is not only cumbersome, it can also lead to mistakes in the allocation of parenting time. The OurFamilyWizard Holiday tool prevents this confusion entirely.
On OurFamilyWizard, you create your parenting schedule with its regularly repeating pattern first. Then, you provide holiday exceptions that override the pattern on the designated dates. With this system, holiday exceptions and travel arrangements are incorporated seamlessly and without error.
For ease of use, find a calendar that also provides templates for common holidays—like Labor Day and Memorial Day—while still giving you the option of creating custom holidays to accommodate birthdays, graduations, and other special occasions specific to your family.
Documenting Schedule Changes
The scheduling tools on OurFamilyWizard are built with customization in mind. And with features like the Trade/Swap™ tool and holidays, the OurFamilyWizard Calendar also provides the flexibility that's needed by two-household families.
Yet even when flexibility is required, documentation is still non-negotiable. Having a clear record of any and all changes made to a schedule is vital for nipping conflict in the bud, but you'll find that feature sorely lacking in basic calendars.
With OurFamilyWizard, parents can conveniently access a chronicle of all calendar changes made by their co-parent in their system messages. Whether it's an update to a holiday or the withdrawal of a Trade/Swap™ request, parents can rely on the highest level of concrete documentation that cannot be manipulated.
Parents may not need this documentation when their communication is running smoothly; however, having the occasional disagreement is nearly unavoidable. Being able to turn to clear records will be essential for preventing those disagreements from spinning out of control.
Parenting schedules, modification requests, and holidays are all important aspects of a co-parenting calendar. But no calendar platform is perfect without additional features that streamline day-to-day communication about your children.
Colour-Coded Pick-Up / Drop-Off Duties
If your child is particularly active in extracurricular events, being able to quickly and clearly see who has pick-up and drop-off responsibilities can simplify your day.
Parents may need to track other types of information on their calendars besides events and schedules. With the OurFamilyWizard Journal, parents can record important items about specific dates for their own private use or to share with their co-parent.
No one is perfect at communication, and when given the option of sharing events in a freeform format, such as with emails or text messages, essential details can be mistakenly overlooked. Because OurFamilyWizard is tailored to the needs of co-parents, the event entry templates cover every possible facet necessary for keeping families on the same page at all times.
If a neutral professional, such as a parenting coordinator, is helping you and your co-parent establish healthy shared parenting habits, being able to collaborate with them on your calendar can be a game-changer.
With OurFamilyWizard, when a professional account is connected to both parents, that professional is able to help parents create their parenting schedules, as well as help them with expenses and other functions.
Find the right fit for your family
Every family is different, but the scheduling needs for co-parents after a divorce or separation are particularly unique. Finding the ultimate post-divorce parenting calendar must take those unique challenges into account.
Choose a platform that can accurately track your parenting schedule, gives you the tools to document parenting time modification requests, share event details, and plan holidays.
OurFamilyWizard has been trusted by families and the practitioners that serve them since 2001. Learn more about the features on OurFamilyWizard that mitigate conflict and give co-parents the power to raise children in a conflict-free environment.