How do Co-Parents Make Daycare Choices?


Making decisions concerning childcare can be challenging for parents who are separating or divorcing. Making wise shared decisions about childcare may be complicated by poor communication, frequent arguments, or resentment resulting from past problems. Even though it may be challenging to talk about this subject, it’s crucial that co-parents agree on the best options for childcare.

The great majority of parents use some type of daycare to watch over their young children while they are at work. This is especially true for parents who no longer share a home after a divorce, separation, or custody dispute. In other situations, a child will need to go to daycare because a parent is going back to work for the first time in a long time to support themselves.

A co-parent is not allowed to deny the other parent access to the child’s daycare center or withhold information regarding babysitters. Both you and the other parent have equal rights to information and participation when it comes to childcare when you split custody.

Child’s safety is priority

Your child should feel safe and secure wherever they may be, and whoever is looking after them should be someone that you and  your co-parent can rely on. Make sure the person has prior experience caring for youngsters, or that they are trained in baby or child CPR and other emergency measures, while selecting the best candidate to look after your child.

Ask the persons you discuss this matter with if they are willing to watch your child at one or both of your houses, or if you must bring your child to their house or childcare center. Visit the place before agreeing to leave your child there if they are unable to come to your home. Make sure that the location is both kid- and adult-friendly.

Photo by Naomi Shi on Pexels

Think about various forms of childcare

There are many options for childcare, so you should weigh them all before deciding which one is best for your family. You could hire a live-in nanny if you require full-time childcare. In this case, think about whether they will require access to both of your residences. This might be feasible if you live close enough to one another and your childcare provider is accommodating.

Find a babysitter or sitters that you and your co-parent can call if you don’t require full-time childcare for your kids, for example on federal holidays or snow days, when daycare is closed but parents are still expected to work. You don’t need to deal with further disagreement because of your choice of babysitter, so make sure that these are somebody that you both can agree on.

Consider daycare if you don’t live close enough for someone to commute between your houses or if you and your co-parent are unable to come to an agreement on this solution. You and your co-parent can leave your child at a daycare facility away from the house where they will be watched over by one or more competent adults. Daycare centers usually watch over numerous kids at once, so this is a terrific chance for your kids to meet new friends and develop social skills.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Talk about expenses

When co-parents are at disagreement, the expense of childcare can be a major issue as child care is often expensive. If you and your co-parent decide to split these expenses, the amount of time each of you spends with the child and your individual income will probably affect how much each of you will pay. In any case, try to collaborate with your co-parent to find a daycare center that is both reasonable and practical for you both, as well as appealing to your child.

Families with modest incomes can typically access childcare subsidies. Childcare assistance programs offer money to working parents or, in some situations, parents who are enrolled in school to help with the expense of licensed in-home or center-based child care. Qualifying requirements differ by state so if you want to apply, you will have to find out how does child care subsidy work where you live and its benefits.

Put everything on paper

As soon as you and your co-parent come to a decision regarding childcare, it should be put in writing. This is typically accomplished when creating your parenting strategy. Cover each matter on which you have made a choice in your plan. These could include things like a list of the child care institutions you’ve approved, how to pay for the associated expenses, how to get to and from child care facilities, and much more.

Consider including this information in your parenting plan even if you are amending an earlier arrangement for childcare by switching nannies or hiring new babysitters. Consult your lawyer for advice on how to proceed because you might need to file your revisions with the court in order to include them in your existing papers.

In conclusion

All these actions will help you and your child in the long run as you decide how to handle childcare as co-parents. Setting up your child’s care schedule, your parental obligations, and your new connection with the child’s other parent can all be done with the help of a co-parenting plan. Making sure that your child can develop secure and positive bonds with all their parents is crucial.

Balancing Blended Families: How to Avoid Badmouthing

How to Avoid Badmouthing

With the holidays comes a certain amount of tension. As a matter of fact, 88% of Americans find the holiday season to be one of the most stressful times of the year! It gets even harder when you’re trying to manage a blended family and can lead to bad behavior like badmouthing. 

Often, with all of the added stressors of the holidays, parents aren’t on their best behavior. They’re worn down from holiday shopping, decorations, parties, work, work engagements, and the cold and dreary weather.

Under enough stress, they snap. They may resort to “less than ideal” behavior. Badmouthing (among other types of stress-related behavior) is bad for the children (and the family dynamic as a whole). 

Read on to learn how to avoid it. 

Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time

It’s no secret that the holidays are going to bring with them some serious stressors. You already know this, so start preparing weeks (if not more) ahead of time. 

This is a great time to start journaling, practicing self-care (more on that later), and potentially talking to someone about your concerns. Talk to your counselor about how you’re feeling and some worries you have about how the holidays will go. 

Don’t leave room for surprises. 

If you’re going to be sending your child(ren) from one home to another, know exactly how the pick-up and drop-off will go. Plan a time and location so you can prepare both yourself and your family. 

You should also plan the unrelated details of your holiday ahead of time. The better-prepared you are, the less stressed you’ll be. That will make it easier for you to stay on good behavior. 

Plan How to React

While you’re preparing, try to consider any potential events that could trigger an emotional response. Not reacting poorly in the moment is a challenge for anyone, and it’s understandable that stress would make it even more difficult.

Consider potential scenarios that could come up. Whether it’s a fight between you (or a family member) and your co-parent, someone being late for pick-up or drop-off, or snide comments, it’s good to know how you plan to respond in a healthy way. 

Find Ways to Relieve Stress

Try to find self-care and stress-relief methods on the days and weeks leading up to the holidays. 

You’re likely going to be busy with holiday preparations, but do what you can to take breaks every now and again. Give yourself an at-home spa day, let a babysitter or family member watch the kids, go see a movie with friends, or find one of the countless other opportunities to remove yourself from your stressors for just a few hours.

Consider talking to a therapist if you don’t already. It’s not uncommon for people to only see therapists during times of stress. With a therapist, you can also “badmouth” your former partner as much as you’d like to in a safe and harmless environment.

Your therapist may also be able to help you re-route those negative thoughts into something more positive. 

Collaborate With Your Co-Parent

If it’s possible to do so, work together with your co-parent to make the situation as relaxing as possible.

If you plan on spending time together, that’s amazing! Not everyone can do that, so that’s a great thing you’re doing for your child. You also know it can be even more frustrating than just doing a pick-up and drop-off, however.

Plan ahead. Talk about things on the “not to do” list that you can both avoid to prevent any unnecessary tension. Talk about topics that you won’t bring up.

Consider coming up with a “cue” that you can use to tell the other parent that you need to go take a break. You can both use this non-verbal cue if you’re feeling your tempers rise. 

If you’re spending most of the time apart, you should still collaborate. Talk to your former partner about what you will and will not say around the children. Remember, this is not your child’s problem. 

Think Before You Speak

This seems simple, but it’s tougher than you think during a stressful time.

Always take a second to breathe before you react to something upsetting. Often, our mouths move faster than our brains! Give yourself a moment to think before you say something you regret.

It’s always better to be silent than to badmouth. 

Avoid Passive Aggression

This is a tough one!

Many parents are fantastic at avoiding overt badmouthing, but they may dip into passive aggression when they’re feeling upset. It’s totally understandable during stressful holidays, but it’s not as subtle as you think it is.

Children can pick up on passive aggression, so you’re not hiding your badmouthing by making it more subtle. Your co-parent will also pick up on it and it could make the situation worse.

If you have a problem, excuse yourself and your co-parent and speak directly. 

Focus on the Holiday

At the end of the day, all you can do is focus on the joy of the holiday. You want to create the best holiday experience for your child (and yourself), so make the most of it.

Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, your co-parent may irritate you or do something you don’t expect. You may do the same to them without realizing it!

Try to get into the holiday spirit anyway. Focus on what’s good.

Avoid Badmouthing During the Holidays

While the holidays can bring out the worst in us, badmouthing is never the answer. Practice self-care, see a counselor, prepare ahead of time, and consider the other recommendations on our list.

Are you looking for a tool that can make co-parenting easier and less stressful for parents and children alike? 2houses gives you access to a family journal, a family calendar, financial organization features, and more. Give it a try today.

Parental separation and divorce: how to support children

Divorce or separation

Divorce or separation usually mean significant changes to family life. Children may be upset and depressed as these changes take place. It’s normal for children to be feeling that way. It will help them understand that this is a challenging moment.

Engaging your child in conversation is among the most effective ways to assist them in adapting to the changes. There are a few actions you can take to aid, such as sticking to routines that are familiar. Try including children in making decisions and receiving assistance. Children should be able to talk with their parents about divorce or separation. Here are some suggestions to talk to your children about the changes divorce or separation brings.

Simple is best

Your child does not have to know everything. However, they have the right to know about what’s going on, and who’s going to be taking charge of them. They should also be confident that things will be okay again.

It is best to communicate in a clear, straightforward, and honest language that your child will understand. For example, “We are in love with you, and we’ll take good care of you. We’ve determined that it’s well for us as a family to have Dad and I live separately.”

Make sure you take your time when answering difficult questions

Sometimes, you don’t know the answer to an unanswerable question, so allow yourself to think. Assure your child that you’ll come back to them. It is possible to say, “I do not know at this moment. The truth is that your Dad, as well as I, are trying to figure it out. However, I am sure that you’ll have time with us both”.

If your child is asking you tough questions regarding their other parent, encourage them to speak to their parent directly. You can also inform them that your child may have asked about concerns.

Pay attention to your child’s needs

There could be a specific concern that is behind your child’s question. For instance, if a child is asking when Mum will return, they are worried about when they’ll meet with Mum. Reassure them using simple phrases that let them know that you’re listening. For example, “It’s like you’re concerned about when you’ll be able to see your mother. It’s still a must to visit Mum on a regular basis. I’m sure that’s vital in your life.” It’s important to assure your child that both you and their other parent are there for them.

Keep the conversation in the air

Your child could constantly be thinking about this topic. Be prepared to answer more than one question. If you schedule an established time for talking, it can provide your child an opportunity to share their concerns. It might be during the time your child comes back from school, while you eat dinner with your family. Prior to taking a reading break, or even while you’re on the road. It is also a good idea to use this regularly scheduled time to inform the child to be aware of any new developments.

Talk about your feelings

Your child is likely to feel unhappy, angry, or sad. This is fine and could be beneficial. If your child can see your expression of emotions in a peaceful and healthy manner, they’ll understand that it’s okay. It’s also essential to inform your child that you care about them and that everything will improve.

When your child expresses emotions, listen attentively. This will give you and your child the opportunity to investigate and comprehend their emotions more clearly. It is possible to say things like, “I can see that you’re angry, and I can understand why it is causing you to feel sad”. It may be hard to understand your child’s feelings of hurt or sadness, particularly if you’re struggling with similar emotions. But your child should communicate, and you’ll better understand the needs of your child by listening.

You can suggest someone else speak to

Sometimes, children are more comfortable discussing their thoughts and feelings with someone other than their parents. Your child may be encouraged to speak to a trusted adult – such as a family member or a teacher. If they will likely be speaking with your child, it’s best to request not to be negative about the other parent.

Routines that children can easily remember following divorce or separation

Routines can help children feel secure, at ease, secure and confident, So keeping a routine can help your child deal with transitions like separation or divorce. Make sure you can identify the small things that matter to your child, such as reading books before bed. Inform your child that these habits will never change. If you are able, you can avoid changing major things such as your child’s school.

It is also important to keep routines. How you wake your child up or the words you speak to them before bed are comforting routines. You are able to create new routines or alter rituals, too. It could be necessary in the event of changes in childcare plans or income. When your kid is of a certain age, you can explore establishing new routines.

Children’s decision-making after divorce or separation

If you are to involve your child in day-to-day decisions, it’ll make them feel in control of their life. For children who are older, it is crucial to pay attention and inform them that their opinion is important. It’s important not to burden kids of any age with huge choices, particularly ones which make them feel trapped.

Family time is a great way to bond with your children

Have a moment to enjoy some amusement, even if it’s an instant hug or playing some music and dancing. It’s also a good idea to take a few actions at the occasion like eating a meal as a picnic at the local park. Let the teachers at your child’s preschool, or school be aware of the situation. They’ll be able to spot any changes in your child’s behavior and could offer alternative support options, including school counselors.

If you’re concerned about your preschooler’s or school-age child’s mental health, or your child’s preteen or teenage mental health, speak to your GP whenever you can. They will be able to help you locate other specialists who can assist, including psychologists in your area.

About the Author: Emma Flores

Emma Flores is lucky enough to turn her interests into a job. Editor and proofreader during work hours, as well as a freelance writer during weekends and a mother all the time. She is at her most in the morning, with headphones on. Emma is working with StudyCrumb to provide tips for making academic papers that are of high-quality standards.

Talking Parents: 6 Reasons Parents Should Talk After a Divorce Meta description

Talking parents

In 2020, there were 630,505 divorces and annulments in the United States alone. Separation and divorce are still quite common in the United States and around the world. However, talking parents can make the situation easier for your family. 

Divorce is a difficult time full of many strong emotions and obstacles, both for the parents and for your children. Regardless of the reason, divorce became the best option for the two of you. But you might want to think twice before burning bridges with your former spouse.

Here’s why you and your children will benefit from parent communication. 

1. You Avoid Misunderstandings

You and your spouse don’t have to be friends after a divorce. Some people are lucky and split amicably. Others feel hurt, betrayed, and angry. 

Whatever your situation, it’s crucial to remain cordial and professional. You don’t have to be friendly, but remaining level-headed will help you make better decisions. You can focus on what’s important during this time.

Remaining cordial makes it easy to communicate with your spouse. Communicating helps the two of you avoid misunderstandings and come to an agreement more quickly. As such, you can finalize the divorce sooner. 

Another way to avoid misunderstandings is to research common myths. Understand the legal terminology and discuss these issues with your spouse. That way, the two of you can come to an agreement with fewer hurt feelings. 

2. You Save Money

The average cost of a divorce is $12,900. However, you can spend much more if you have any contested issues. Commonly contested issues include: 

  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Alimony
  • Property

You and your spouse may not be on the same page regarding these issues. Yet, remaining divided will cost the two of you much more. So, what can you do? 

Find a way to communicate outside of the courtroom to save money. Go out to lunch or discuss issues over the phone. Of course, be careful what you say and agree to unless it aligns with your interests. 

The two of you may be able to come to an agreement faster this way. 

3. It’s Easier on Your Kids

There is a 16% increased risk of behavioral problems in kids between 7-14 following a divorce. It’s crucial to remember that your kids are having a tough time too. As such, you want to be careful about what you say concerning your spouse in front of them. 

Your children love you both. Divorce can feel like they suddenly have to “choose” between parents. They might ask, “What will happen to our family?” 

The stress of a divorce can take a mental and physical toll on kids. They may become depressed or anxious and feel as if their lives are changing in a big way. 

Take time to spend with your kids. Ask them how they’re feeling and let them know they can always come to you. Of course, you might want to consider counseling or therapy for your kids. 

A child therapist helps kids work through difficult mental and emotional problems. They can also diagnose issues such as anxiety, stress, or depression. Seeing a professional can also help your child feel like they have someone to talk to. 

4. Co-Parenting Becomes an Option

Conflict between parents has a negative effect on kids. It may make them feel vulnerable or anxious. That’s why co-parenting is becoming so common. 

By definition, co-parenting involves sharing the responsibilities of raising a child or children. It’s used mostly in situations where parents are separated or divorced. 

That said, co-parenting will look different in each divorce situation. It involves scheduling visitations, taking their kids to appointments, attending important moments in a child’s life, etc. 

Divorced parents often find that co-parenting makes divorce much easier on the children. They can still see both parents, and the family isn’t as disjointed as it may have felt previously. 

However, co-parenting is only possible with proper family communication and flexibility. You need to talk to your spouse about what times work best and how long visitations should be. Also, consider whether there are any obstacles, such as appointments or travel. 

The 2houses interactive calendar makes this much easier by setting parental schedules. 

5. It’s Therapeutic

Divorce is stressful for both parents as well as the kids. Plus, it can get awkward among your friends, at work, and when talking to your support network. Your whole life can change after a divorce, including where you live and who you talk to. 

As such, you may deal with feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and so on. In short, you have a lot of feelings to work through! Communicating with your spouse and others can be therapeutic for you. 

Part of the reason why divorce can be so stressful is not understanding the situation. You may not understand your spouse’s feelings or actions, especially if they hurt you. 

Communication can provide closure. It may not be easy, but it can help you to understand the situation more. 

You have a right to express any feelings of anger or grief as well. However, yelling at your spouse or blaming them won’t make matters any better. It’s best to talk to a therapist or start a divorce journal to work through your feelings. 

6. Communication Is Easier Than You Think

These days, technology has made communicating and syncing schedules much easier. You no longer have to make appointments on the fridge calendar, via email, or over text. 

Interactive calendars allow both parents to add family events, adjust their schedules, and more. Set a time for dance lessons or parent-teacher conferences. If there’s a sudden change in schedules, either spouse can update the calendar. 

That way, both spouses have an accurate schedule that makes co-parenting much easier. 

Talking Parents: A Better Solution

Open communication and talking parents can make divorce easier for your kids. It also has many benefits for you, such as being therapeutic. 

To make the process easier, take a look at the features and pricing of the 2houses services. From an interactive calendar to a financial management tool, subscribing makes communicating easy and painless. 

Exploring Parenting Style: Authoritative Parenting vs Co-Parenting

Authoritative Parenting vs Co-Parenting

More than 3.6 million babies are born every year in the United States, so there are a lot of children living in America. However, each childhood will be different depending on where a child lives and who is raising them. 

Different approaches to parenting, such as authoritative parenting, can have a huge impact on your child’s development. So it is incredibly important to be aware of your parenting style. 

After a separation, you and your ex-partner need to agree on a parenting style. Talking parents often find it easier to create cohesion for their child across both households. So set aside time with your ex to figure out your parenting strategy.

Want to know more about how to maintain an authoritative approach to parenting after getting divorced? Then you’re in the right place. Read on to find out everything you need to know about authoritative parenting and co-parenting. 

What is Authoritative Parenting? 

An authoritative approach to raising children focuses on boundaries and communication. 

Authoritative parents set rules and consequences but always explain why these rules exist. They also take their child’s emotional reaction to rules and boundaries into account.

For example, you might say, “I understand that you find this frustrating, do you understand why this rule is important?” You may also have conversations about how they feel if they have been told off.

The goal is to create a safe, familiar, and positive environment for your child. Communicating with them validates their feelings and helps them understand the world around them. 

How Do Children Benefit From Authoritative, Talking Parents?

Authoritative parenting helps your children grow up in a secure environment.

Studies show that this kind of parenting promotes secure parent-child attachment styles. So your children feel comfortable discussing their feelings and asking for help.

This also improves emotional intelligence in adulthood.

Authoritative Parenting in a Co-Parenting Arrangement 

Authoritative parenting encourages your child to speak about their emotions. Because of this, it can be very valuable during and after a separation.

It also encourages you to recognize that your children might “act out” for different reasons. So you can explore this with them in more depth. 

However, it is very important that both parents engage in this parenting style. Otherwise, your children may find going between their different households very emotionally confusing.

So can you successfully co-parent while taking an authoritative approach? Let’s take a closer look at ways to integrate this parenting style into a co-parenting arrangement. 

Focus on Your Child’s Relationship With Both Parents 

Authoritative parenting helps to strengthen the relationship that you have with your child. However, after a separation, it is important to focus on the relationship that your child has with both parents. 

As exes can do this by supporting one another’s parenting approach. For example, your child might ask you why the other parent asked them not to do something.

Reinforcing the importance of this boundary and explaining it to your child will help them understand it better. So they feel more comfortable opening up to both parents.

Make Sure That You Are on the Same Page 

Authoritative parenting only works if it is consistent. So you and your ex need to be on the same page about certain rules and boundaries. If you aren’t, this can become confusing for your children. 

Set aside some time to talk to your ex about your parenting approach. You can also use this discussion to create consistent: 

  • Routines 
  • Bedtime schedules 
  • Rewards
  • Rules 
  • Consequences for breaking rules

This also makes it easier for your child to transition from one household to the other. 

It is important that you don’t do this in front of your children. This shields them from any conflict or disagreements that you might have. It also helps your children see you as a united front even though you have separated.

Talking Parents: Communicate About Issues When They Come Up

If your child does open up to you about how they’re feeling be sure to share this with your ex. 

This might involve encouraging them to have a conversation with your child. Or it could be as simple as mentioning that they have been anxious, worried, or confused by something that week.

This helps both of you to stay aware of what is going on with your children. So you can keep an eye out for emotions that might affect their behavior.

You could even set aside some time to talk about these issues together as a family if your child feels comfortable with that. This will support parent-child communication in both households.

Pick Your Battles 

No parent is perfect and even authoritative parenting can slide sometimes. It can be frustrating when this happens after a separation. However, it is important to pick your battles with your ex. 

For example, it probably isn’t worth calling your ex out if your child says they ate ice cream every day on vacation!

Certain rules, such as bedtimes or screen time, may also be less strict during vacations. This is to be expected and you can talk to your child about changes as they happen. 

That said if you notice that your ex isn’t enforcing the same boundaries as you on a regular basis, it is a good idea to discuss this with them.

Try to frame this conversation around your collective approach to parenting. Focus on promoting the benefit of boundaries and consistency for your child. This will help you keep these discussions focused and non-confrontational.

Get Support With Your Co-Parenting Arrangement

Authoritative, talking parents can be incredibly supportive of their children after a separation.

Authoritative parenting gives your children space to talk about their worries and other feelings. This will help to strengthen the relationship they have with both you and your ex. 

Are you looking for more support managing your co-parenting schedule? Then start your 14-day trial of 2houses now. We’re here to help.

20 Journal Prompts for Your Divorce Journal

Divorce journal

Have you recently gone through a divorce?

Getting divorced brings up many negative emotions within us. It is essential to let these negative emotions out through a healthy outlet. One way to reflect on these emotions is through daily writing in a journal.

Did you know that journaling is a form of meditative practice? Journaling the right way can help improve your perspective and mental health.

However, you can only reap the benefits if you do it right. Not sure what to write in your divorce journal? Then keep reading for twenty relationship journal prompts.

1. When Did You Realize it Was a Toxic Relationship?

Writing this down can give you strength when you are doubting yourself. Leaving someone is hard when you’re used to being with them. You may even start gaslighting yourself into thinking that the relationship was not that bad.

2. Is There a Pattern of Toxic Relationships in Your Life?

Think about other relationships you’ve had.

If you find yourself drawn to toxic partners, reflect on why. Did your parents have an unhealthy relationship? Do you have problems contributing to this?

Knowing what causes you to stay in toxic relationships is important. This helps you avoid toxic relationships in the future. You may also talk to a therapist who can help you resolve some issues you have contributing to this.

3. When Was the Last Time You Felt Good About Your Relationship?

It is good to get both good and bad aspects of your relationship. Hating your partner would only plant negative emotions in your heart.

Try looking back on the good moments of your relationship. This helps you have a more balanced view of your ex-partner. Knowing your partner’s good traits is crucial when you’re divorced but need to co-parent.

4. If Your Loved One Was in the Same Situation, What Advice Would You Tell Them?

One of the best pieces of advice is to treat yourself like how you would treat a loved one. We are often self-critical and fail to see things in a balanced or empathetic way. Treating yourself like you would a loved one will help you treat yourself with more kindness.

5. What Was the Last Straw That Made You Leave?

The last straw is often not one situation; reflecting on it may show you other accumulated problems. Unresolved issues or trauma in your last relationship might carry on in your next one.

It is essential to reflect on the last straw and think of ways you could have prevented it. How did you react? Do you think you handled it the right way?

6. What’s the Biggest Lesson You’ve Learned?

All relationships give us lessons. A toxic relationship might have taught us red flags to look out for or what we want in a partner. Carry these lessons to heart so you do not repeat them.

7. What Boundaries Do You Plan to Set With Your Next Partner?

Setting the right boundaries with a partner is a key component of a healthy relationship. What boundaries were not honored in your past relationship? How can you enforce and communicate your boundaries better?

8. Are You Letting Yourself Feel How You Want To?

There is no right or wrong way to feel during a divorce. Stop bottling up your emotions and allow yourself to process what you’re feeling.

9. If You Were to Write a Letter to Your Ex-partner, What Would it Say?

Some things are better left unsaid. There may be some hurtful things that come to mind about your partner. Vent it out without hurting others by writing it in your journal.

10. Write Every Negative Emotion You Feel and Why.

As mentioned, it’s important to vent out what you’re feeling. But it also helps to reflect on why.

If you’re angry, what parts of the relationship made you feel so? Are you sad because it’s over or sad because it happened?

11. How Would an Ideal Partner Treat You?

Jotting down these traits would be helpful when you are in your next relationship. We often overlook red flags during the honeymoon phase. Writing down what our ideal partner should be like helps us get a clearer picture of what we should look for.

12. What Did Your Partner Criticize the Most?

During arguments, our partners might say hurtful things about us. Was it true? If it is how can we make ourselves better.

If it’s not, determine what you can do to heal or move past it. Many people say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment. It isn’t fair to trap yourself in something your ex-partner said.

13. What are You Doing for Self-care Right Now?

It’s easy to succumb to stress during a divorce and let yourself go. That’s why you should always practice self-care. Write down self-care goals or what you are doing to pamper yourself during this time.

14. Name 3 Things You’re Grateful For

Studies show that writing things we are grateful for can help our mental health. During a divorce, it may become easy to have tunnel vision of negative thoughts.

Looking at other things in your life besides the divorce helps you fight this spiral.

Take a moment and look at the things you are grateful for. You could be grateful for your strength in leaving a toxic relationship. You can write about how grateful you are for your beautiful children.

You can name more than three things to be grateful for, or even begin with one if you are having a hard time. But practicing gratefulness will help you feel happier.

15. What Are Your Love Languages? How Do You Express Them?

Knowing your love language is important to building a healthy relationship. This allows you to better understand yourself and helps your new partner know the best way to love you.

16. What Regrets Do You Have?

Nobody is perfect. Reflecting back on things we regret isn’t only about regretting them. It’s also about holding ourselves accountable.

17. What Would a Healthy Relationship Look Like?

What does a healthy relationship look like to you? Is it about romantic dates, compromises, and surprises? Or is it being there in times you need it the most?

Defining a healthy relationship helps us have a blueprint of what to do in our next relationship.

18. What Were the Biggest Issues You Faced With Your Ex-partner?

Identify the biggest problems you had with your ex-partner. Were your fights avoidable? Could you have handled it better?

19. Do You Think True Love Exists?

Do you believe in soul mates? Does true love exist? Is love a choice or a commitment?

These are some of the things you need to think about when answering this question. Everyone has a different definition or belief of true love.

20. What’s Holding You Back?

If you know the kind of partner you want to have, what is holding you back? Determine how you can work on yourself so you can get the relationship you want.

Healing From a Past Relationship With a Divorce Journal

After a divorce, it’s normal to feel confused, angry, depressed, or even numb. All your emotions are valid, and it’s crucial to be able to understand them on your own. Try answering these prompts in your divorce journal and see if you can get a better understanding of yourself.

Are you co-parenting with your ex-partner? We have a way to make it easier on both parties. Contact us today.

How to Organize Joint Custody in a Blended Family

custody schedule

Each year, more than 630,000 couples in America get divorced. This can be a very difficult time both emotionally and practically. After all, getting divorced requires a lot of logistical planning, especially if you have kids.

More than 1 million American children see their parents divorce each year. So your child isn’t alone in this experience. However, it is still incredibly important to handle this transition carefully. 

Organizing a custody schedule as soon as possible will create stability in your children’s life. Are you wondering how to organize a joint custody schedule in your blended family? Then you’re in the right place. 

Read on to find out our top tips for creating a co-parenting schedule that works for everyone.

Accept That Co-Parenting Can Be Difficult

The majority of parents don’t set out planning to separate. So this can be a very emotional and uncertain time. It is natural to feel concerned for your children and yourself. 

However, getting emotional while putting together a child custody schedule can work against you. Because of this, make sure you have a lot of support around you.

Trusted friends and family members can offer advice and give you room to vent about the process. No one is expecting you to find this easy, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Put Your Child’s Needs First in Your Custody Schedule 

No matter what has happened during your separation, you should always put your child’s needs first. This can be easier said than done. After all, it usually means that you get to spend less time with your children overall.

That said, your custody schedule is there to support your child’s relationship with both of their parents. So it should serve this. It should also support their individual needs and create stability in their life. 

During the process, it is important not to put your child on the spot. You shouldn’t ask them directly what they want. This can be emotionally stressful and might make them feel guilty for picking one parent over the other. 

However, you can ask them if they have any worries or concerns following the separation. This lets them share their wants and needs. It will also make them feel like they are being listened to and prioritized.

Look at Different Schedule Options 

50-50 custody schedule is not your only option when it comes to childcare. In fact, trying to split child custody down the middle can be very difficult.

This gets harder when you factor in your child’s other commitments, such as school and playdates. So you may want to consider different schedule options. 

Some parents alternate weeks with their children. Others use a 2-2-3 or 2-2-5 plan. These involve children spending: 

  • Two days with each parent followed by 
  • Three days with one parent or five days with one parent 

At the end of the week, the schedule flips. So each parent ends up getting seven days with their children every two weeks. However, in this arrangement, you never have to go longer than five days without seeing your child!

Other parents may not have the flexibility to manage this schedule. For example, your work schedule may make it difficult. In that case, you might alternate weekends with your children and have a family dinner once a week.

This really is about finding what works for you and your children. So make sure you prioritize that.

Set Aside Time to Communicate 

After a divorce or separation, you might want some time and space from your ex. However, this can mean that the only time you see them is when dropping off or collecting your kids.

This is not a good time to discuss child custody arrangements or anything else. In fact, these discussions should never happen in front of the children. 

Instead, set aside a time that works for you both and decide the best way to communicate. That way you can both come to the conversation with your thoughts prepared.

Pick Your Battles 

Co-parenting can be very difficult. While parenting, you and your spouse can present a united front to your children. However, after a separation, the dynamic can change a lot. 

The emotional fallout of your divorce might mean it is harder to call your ex out on certain behavior. So think carefully before picking up on an issue. 

Obviously, you and your ex need to be on the same page about certain issues, such as discipline. However, when it comes to the occasional late night or mistimed dessert, pick your battles. This will save you a lot of energy and can help things run more smoothly with your ex.

If you are concerned about a larger issue, set aside time to talk about this. It can also help to get support from a mediator for these conversations.

Stay Flexible and Review Your Arrangements 

Stability is incredibly important for children and can help them feel emotionally secure. So try to create a consistent schedule that you can stick to.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to be totally rigid. A little flexibility from time to time won’t disturb your kids too much. And it can help your relationship with your ex. 

It is also important to check in on how well your schedule is working for everyone. Try to give it a month or so and then review your arrangements.

If they work, then that’s great! If not, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and adjust them.

Get Help Organizing Your Custody Exchange Schedule 

When it comes to putting together a custody schedule, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Instead, the most important thing is to put your children’s needs first. This may be challenging at times and can be very emotional. So make sure you have plenty of support around while you navigate life with your blended family. 

2houses is also here to provide practical support. Our calendars make it easy to access your schedule and communicate with your ex. Find out more and start your 14-day trial now!

Building Kids’ Resilience in Two Homes

Two homes

Sometimes, marriages don’t work out, but we would still do anything for our family. 72% of divorces occur within the first 14 years of marriage, which is when most couples still have minor children.

If you’re working through a divorce with young children, there are a lot of challenges to navigate, especially with your children. However, the good news is that you are not alone. 

Let’s talk about how to build resiliency in your children through separation or divorce.

Why Resiliency Is So Important

Resiliency is an important skill for any child to learn. It can help them find greater success in life and cope with circumstances beyond their control. Learning to bounce back from setbacks and challenges is critical for proper development.

More importantly, separation and divorce require resiliency for everyone involved. Children happen to be the most at-risk in these situations, which is why it’s so important to help them build resilience.

Remember that resiliency is a skill, not an innate personality trait. It’s not something people are born with, which is important to recognize before helping your child along.

Building Children’s Resilience Through Separation

The most important factors in building resiliency for your child are understanding their needs and reducing their stress levels. Children will learn a lot on their own, but only in the right environments. Let’s talk about how to facilitate that.

Reduce Co-Parenting Conflict

Conflicts between co-parents are bound to happen at some point. However, reducing their frequency and ferocity is essential. Your child may have shown resiliency so far in the process, but everybody has their limits.

Separation and divorce are already traumatic experiences that require resiliency. Children will need to learn how to adapt to a different living situation. Adding most stress is the last thing they need.

Never Use Children as Messengers

We live in a world with no excuses. If you have something to say to your ex, you can contact them whenever you want. You should never put your child in a position where they feel trapped in the middle.

While this is especially true for any negative messages, it holds true for all. Your child should never feel responsible for conveying information. We all know how the game of “telephone” works.

Consequently, if the child forgets or misinterprets the message, this could lead to hostility. Your child will then feel they are to blame for escalating conflicts. It’s always best to avoid putting children in this position.

Encourage Consistency

Consistency between the two households is vital for a child’s development. For example, if one parent allows video games before homework and the other doesn’t, this could lead to resentment toward the parent perceived as “more strict”.

Try to sit down with your co-parent and discuss basic rules and expectations that you need to maintain at both houses. As time passes, more of these differences are likely to arise. Discuss them as they come and try to work toward an agreement, rather than blaming the other parent without communicating.

Maintain a Routine

A predictable daily schedule is the best way to build routines for children. However, this is a challenge with two homes.

Children should be able to predict where they’ll be housed and what their days will be like in the near future. Would you like to wake up every day without any clue of where you’re going or what you’re doing? Consider your child’s point of view here.

Moreover, a set schedule is essential for children. If the child knows they spend every Wednesday and every other weekend with one parent, try your best to keep these consistent. You want them to easily predict their routines.

Also, if your child is used to waking up, having breakfast, getting dressed, watching a short episode on television, and then going to school, keep it consistent. We all like having some semblance of a routine, which is especially important when living in two separate homes. Waking up in a different location regularly is disorienting enough, so establishing a clear routine is quite helpful.

Encourage an Open Dialogue

There’s a good chance your child is worried to tell you how they are feeling, especially if you’re visibly occupied with your divorce. Let your child know that they’re more than welcome to tell you how they’re feeling, even if that means telling you hard truths you may not want to hear.

How else can you help foster resiliency? If the child does not know how to regulate their emotions, and you don’t know what emotions they are feeling, where is there room for progress?

Your child is likely experiencing big emotions due to the stress of a new life. They should not be punished for expressing themselves but encouraged to do so. Suffering in silence won’t help anyone.

Strategize With Your Co-Parent

Sit down with your co-parent away from your child and discuss a plan for building resilience in your child and how to manage their stress levels. Try to keep things as consistent as possible in each home, discuss issues away from them, and work to make your child as comfortable as possible in both homes.

Divorce is challenging for everybody, but your child has the least amount of power during the process. For this reason, it’s important to develop an inclusive plan for them with your co-parent and stick to it.

If you feel overwhelmed, that’s okay. Talk to a professional co-parenting facilitator to help build an easy transition and better resilience for your child. This way, you and your co-parent can stay on the same page.

Don’t Give Up

We know that separation and divorce are challenging. However, your children are innocent in these situations, and it’s the responsibility of their parents to give them the security, stability, and tools they need for success.

Keep reading our blog for our latest co-parenting tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Co Parenting a Newborn: How to Do It Successfully

Co Parenting a Newborn

When a relationship ends, making a new parenting arrangement is never easy, especially with an infant. However, discussing your co-parenting plans as soon as possible is necessary. Co-parenting a newborn needs a specific arrangement to meet their needs and nurture their well-being.

During the infant stage, a newborn baby wants to secure attachments to their parents. As they rely on a routine, devising a consistent and stable co-parenting plan is essential.

To ensure your child’s well-being, you and your co-parent must work as a team. Read on to learn how to co-parent a newborn baby.

1. As Divorced Parents, Set Your Feelings Aside

In a divorce, your emotions about the whole situation can range from sadness to anger. This makes it the most challenging when discussing sharing custody. For successful co-parenting, you must set your feelings aside and focus on the need of your child.

Co-parenting isn’t about you and your ex-spouse. You talk about the stability, happiness, and well-being of your child. Although you can feel hurt and angry, never let your feelings control your actions.

Did you know that a newborn baby can absorb what you feel? If you feel stressed, your baby reacts by crying, sneezing, or yawning. With this, never vent your frustration in front of your child.

If you need to relieve the intense emotions, you can call your family, friend, or therapist. Doing activities, such as exercising and journaling, can let off your steam, too. Note that an infant can absorb what you feel despite not showing any aggression.

For effective co-parenting, you must cooperate and communicate with the other parent.

2. Learn to Communicate

Feeling intense emotions is normal after going separate ways with your ex-partner. However, your sadness, anger, and frustration can hinder your planning. If you don’t set your feelings aside, it’s hard to communicate with the other parent.

With this, you need to clear your mind. Note that you’re communicating with your ex-partner for your child’s well-being. Having a peaceful and purposeful talk is vital when co-parenting a newborn.

To prevent any conflict, keep your baby the main topic of every discussion you have with your co-parent. Further, remember that you don’t always need to meet up with your ex-spouse. You can communicate through phone, text, or email about sharing custody.

When communicating, note that your goal is to have conflict-free co-parenting.

3. Remember Your New Roles When Co-Parenting

When you get into a relationship, there are times when you and your partner decide together. You always ask for the opinion and permission of each other on different matters. It’s challenging to work by yourselves when the relationship ends.

As a result of the separation, you must limit your opinion about how the other parent lives. It’s vital in your co-parenting relationship to recognize the issues to get involved in and not. Spending habits and other relationships are out of the question.

However, you can say something about how you must discipline your child. Acknowledging the roles and boundaries is hard. Although challenging, talking about these issues can establish a good co-parenting relationship.

4. Co-Parent as a Team

The mindset of working as a team in co-parenting a newborn is essential. As mentioned, there are matters where you and your co-parent must decide. Having a genial, consistent, and cooperative discussion can lead to effective co-parenting.

When making decisions involving the future welfare of the baby, the parents must talk about it. You and your co-parent must come up with a plan where both contribute. Some matters to discuss are your child’s medical, future education, and financial needs.

To reach an agreement, the parents must be open, honest, and direct about these matters.

Further, when co-parenting a newborn, supporting each other is helpful. For instance, breastfeeding is hard as the divorced parents don’t live together. If you’re the supporting parent, the best thing you can do is to help in nursing the baby.

Although it’s hard, working as a team is vital to reaching the child’s well-being.

5. Develop a Co-Parenting Plan

If you’re sharing custody of your infant with your ex-partner, coming up with a verbal agreement isn’t enough. Developing a contract detailing your co-parenting plan for the newborn baby is vital. A co-parenting plan is a document that states the agreed conditions about how to co-parent.

To make one, you must discuss each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the child. It must include the visitation schedule, decision-making guidelines, and other vital matters. After discussing, you can set your way up to create the conditions.

With a plan, you have structured and clear guidelines for caring for the child. Further, it strengthens your co-parenting relationship. If you build a strong bond with your co-parent, it reduces stress and secures the well-being of the child.

6. Create a Schedule

When co-parenting a newborn, consistency is vital as the infant relies on a routine. Experts encourage divorced parents to be present during infancy through regular visitation. Creating a schedule can help achieve an effective co-parenting plan.

To keep consistent contact, consider the distance and availability of the co-parents. You must not keep the baby away from either parent for several days. For infants, regular visits set expectations and boundaries.

If you’re a non-residential parent, ensure to visit the baby several times a week. When visiting, you must use the time to bond with the infant to familiarize them with your presence. You can feed, soothe, or bathe the newborn if you want.

Further, you must consider the routine and feeding time of the baby when creating a schedule. Arrange visitation and pick-up times, not in conflict with routine or wind-down. When faced with inconsistent events, the baby can start feeling anxious.

7. Make Room to Grow

As the saying goes, change is the only constant thing in life. This applies to co-parenting a newborn as their needs change as they grow. A point comes where plans can no longer meet the child’s needs.

To prevent any issues, the parents must build up the transition into their plan. Instead of using the same schedule and making an abrupt change, easing your way into the new routine is best. If you need help with suitable changes to make, you can ask for help from experts about co-parenting.

An Effective Way For Co-Parenting a Newborn

Co-parenting a newborn is different from caring for other ages. During infancy, there are more needs to meet and factors to consider. With this, you need to develop an effective co-parenting plan to ensure the child’s well-being.

For questions on effective co-parenting, you can visit the 2Houses blog for information. Consider reaching us here for queries about our co-parenting facilitator services.

How to Co-Parent with a Restraining Order

Parenting with a Restraining Order

Let’s face it: being a parent is hard. Although it is probably the best job you will ever have, it isn’t always easy or clear how to parent effectively. Even with all the parenting books available, there are still those gray areas that don’t take into account the different personalities of each child, or the parenting style of each parent. To make things even harder, you and your child’s other parent are now exes, and you have a Restraining Order against you, and you are ordered to co-parent. That’s a whole jumbled-up mess in and of itself. What should you do now that you find yourself in separate households? Who gets to see the child on their birthday or holidays? How do you adjust to downsizing from a two-income household to a one-income household? There are so many questions that desperately need answers. While there are no hard-and-fast rules for co-parenting with a Restraining Order, there are some general do’s and don’t’s that will guide you through the multitude of issues of co-parenting with a Restraining Order.

Restraining Orders in General

Restraining Orders are orders that are signed by a judge that directs people what they should and should not do. They are automatic in divorces, and some of the restrictions automatically apply to divorcing couples. For example, the parties are not allowed to move their child out of the state or sell property while the divorce case is still pending. All the restrictions are in place to protect both parties from physical or mental harm, protect the child’s best interest, and to preserve assets. Both parties are informed of the Restraining Order when they get the divorce papers. Each person may contest any part of the Restraining Order and request that it be removed within 30 days of receiving a copy. Most of the Restraining Orders end when the divorce is finalized.

Obeying the Restraining Order

When the Restraining Order was signed, it had conditions of do’s and don’t’s for co-parenting. Possibly the most important rule to successfully co-parenting with a Restraining Order is to follow the order’s conditions. Not only will doing so most likely make things go smoother with you and your ex, but it will also look favorable the next time you are in Court. If the judge sees that you are obeying the Order and doing your part to co-parent in a way that is best for your child, he or she will be more likely to grant you custody, or decide if you will be allowed to see your child at all.          

Custodial Decisions

Judges must make custodial decisions that he or she believes are best for the child. The judge will take into account a plethora of things, such as the individual needs of the child, whether the parents communicate well, and any domestic violence. Courts have agreed that domestic violence is never what is best for the child. In a divorce case involving alleged abuse, the judge could order supervised visits, pause any visitation, or terminate it completely until the domestic violence offender finishes a parenting or counseling class. Therefore, it is in you and your child’s best interest to obey the rules of your Order. You will be more likely to stay in your child’s life, and your child will see how to handle disappointing or challenging circumstances.

Communication with Your Co-Parent

Communicating with your co-parent while there is an active Restraining Order can cause additional trouble. Most of the time, Restraining Orders contain a clause forbidding all contact between the two parties. However, successful co-parenting requires some level of communication. Since contacting your co-parent is an issue in a Restraining Order, it’s best to end all communication with your co-parent. If there are situations that you need to discuss with your co-parent regarding your child, there are several options for routing around this obstacle to successful co-parenting with a restraining order.

First, consider hiring an attorney of your choice to communicate on your behalf. This avenue allows you to relay your wishes without going against the Court’s rules, or possibly affecting your chance of parenting in the future. He or she can perform the leg work of each of the following tips.

  1. Ask the Court for an exemption to the Restraining Order that allows for discussing co-parenting matters.
  2. Apply for permission to communicate through phone calls, texting, emailing, and any social media outlet.
  3. Request that both parties can utilize a third party to communicate with each other.
  4. Consider asking for permission to use an actual notebook or diary to discuss any parenting information. Either the child or another party would hand the notebook to the other parent, then back to the original parent.
  5.  Think about requesting to use a reliable co-parenting app. These apps allow both parents to send messages, share pictures, stay on schedule, track expenses, including shared ones, and many other functions. There are some apps that are free and some that charge a monthly fee.

If the Restraining Order states that you both may not go near each other, it will most likely designate someone that can get your child to you and your ex. This could be a friend, family member, or a visitation officer. Ask your family law attorney for suggestions of a Children’s Contact Services company, if the judge ordered that one be used.

Most of the time, Restraining Orders determine a certain amount of physical space that must be kept between the parents. This can make attending family and school functions hard. To keep from disobeying the judge’s Order, it might be helpful to plan different times that each person will get there, adjust seating locations, or to take turns with who goes to which events. Just remember that it is the restrained person’s duty to adhere to the Order and to ensure no clause of the order is violated, even if the other parent initiates contact.

Need More Help Co-Parenting with a Restraining Order?

If you are still experiencing issues that are keeping you from successfully co-parenting with a Restraining Order, consider hiring a family law attorney, if you haven’t already. They have the knowledge and expertise to know the legal ins-and-outs of co-parenting with a Restraining Order. They can file paperwork, petition the Court for certain requests, and execute many other legal-related dealings. This will save you time and energy you need to effectively co-parent.

The Take-Away

Divorce brings hard feelings, confusion, hurt, sadness, bitterness, anger, and many more feelings. These feelings don’t go away quickly. And, divorce becomes even more difficult when a child is involved. But successful co-parenting is necessary, especially when a Restraining Order is involved. But it absolutely is possible. Do everything in your power to follow the Order and make things go smoothly for you, your ex, and most importantly, your child. Make sure that you are able to be there for your child by following the terms and conditions of your Order. Show your child that he or she is worth putting aside your own desires, such as the desire to be right or to be heard. If you need help navigating the jungle that is co-parenting, research and hire a family law attorney in your area. You and your child’s relationship will thank you.