When your children are first born, it can feel like every little thing has to be kept track of, including feedings, diaper changes and how often they’re sleeping. As your children get older, you spend a lot less time tracking these types of things, but their schedules are busy in a different way. There are extracurricular activities, sports practice and games, school events and play dates. All of this is plenty when everyone is under the same roof, but it gets even more complicated when you have to share and manage all of this information between two separate households. Here are some tips on how to manage your coparenting calendar for an easier and more streamlined process.
Managing the Calendar
The first step in creating a coparenting calendar that works for your situation is to make a master list of everything you may need to share with the other parent. We’ve covered some of the most common activities and events below, but keep in mind that every situation is different. If your child regularly attends therapy, it’s a good idea for both parents to know when those appointments are. It can also be of benefit to have a daily schedule for young children that’s shared between the two parents so that their routines can be kept similar. This ensures that the children feel safe in both spaces and know what to expect.
Extracurricular activities involve anything from sports and music lessons to debate team and theater. Even with young children, these activities can involve multiple practices a week as well as games, tournaments, and larger competitions. It’s likely that at least some of these activities will need to happen across both parents’ parenting time, so sharing schedules is important. It’s a good idea to ensure that the time, place, and supervising adult is listed on the event. A phone number for the coach or teacher is also a good idea in case you have trouble finding the location or are running late and need to be let into a building.
From tea with Mom and crazy hair day to Valentine’s boxes and birthday treats, having school-aged children comes with a lot of events and paperwork to keep track of. This can be especially challenging if you have a shared parenting schedule, such as one week on and one week off or 2-2-3 schedule. Sharing all of this information online through a data bank or shared calendar like 2houses offers can ensure everyone knows what’s coming no matter what house the kids are at that day, and it also makes it easier for you to keep track of everything when you can deal with digital information instead of endless paper fliers and notices.
Any kind of important appointment for your child should probably be on the shared coparenting calendar, but medical visits are especially important. Many custody agreements require both parents to be notified and to have the chance to be present at doctors visits, and putting it on the calendar as an event lets you do that without having to worry about whether the other parent remembers. You can also include other important information like the phone numbers and a summary of the visit if the parent isn’t able to attend so they can ask the practitioner any questions directly and request medical records.
Sharing Information With the Other Parent
When you’re starting to get everything together for your coparenting calendar, it might feel a little strange to be giving the other parent so much information about your life and where you’re going to be when. But unless there is a safety issue or a restraining order in place, it’s a good idea to think about it in terms of what’s best for the kids and what makes it easier on you. For example, if you have to deal with a lot of texts or calls from the other parent because they can’t remember when practice is or what building the parent teacher conference is in, providing all of that info in a digital format that they can check themselves can cut a lot of that back. It’s also a good way to ensure that everything is communicated in writing to cut down on he said she said situations.
When you’re getting information ready, try to stick to the facts and provide as much information as possible. It’s a good idea to cover all of these basics:
- Who: Make sure to note which child is involved, which parent’s time the event is happening on and what other people are going to be there that they need to know about.
- What: Note what the event is and what’s required, such as a uniform, musical instrument or homework assignment.
- Where: Be as detailed as possible here, providing an exact address that can be put into a GPS and other information such as “Field A” or “Enter through Door 3.”
- When: Provide start and end times if possible, or let the other parent know that it’s an all-day event so they can think about if they need to bring snacks or plan around other things.
Keeping Track of Information
A digital coparenting app is the gold standard when it comes to communicating the children’s schedules with the other parent, and 2houses has thought of everything you need when developing theirs. In addition to all of the other tools the app offers — from finance trackers to in-app messaging — the calendar has the following features:
- Color-coded dates to show who has the children when at a glance: Keeping track of which parent the children are with is crucial to knowing who is going to be taking them to events. 2houses lets you automatically create a color-coded version of your custody schedule superimposed into the calendar based on popular schedule breakdowns, or you can create a custom schedule to fit your needs.
- In-app schedule change requests: This feature lets you ask the parent for a change in the schedule, such as for a family event or holiday, so that there’s a record of the request, receipt of the request, and a record of the other parent’s response. It helps to have everything in writing and ready for documentation purposes if at any time anything has to go before a judge.
- Import special dates: The calendar makes it easy to load all of your scheduling needs at once, with import features for things like school holidays and vacation schedules. This saves you time and decreases the possibility of input errors.
- Syncing with most calendar applications: The 2houses calendar app can sync with most popular calendar applications, including Outlook and iCal, so you can have your own copy of the kids’ schedule in one place without having to share your personal information with the other parent or copy dates and events one by one.
- Calendar sharing: If you need to share your calendar with a third party, such as an attorney, family member, or guardian ad litem, it’s as simple as just a few clicks.
If you’re looking for a way to simplify scheduling and know exactly what’s on the agenda for each day without having to talk to the other parent or make a bunch of phone calls, a coparenting calendar can help. Check out what 2houses has to offer to make the coparenting journey easier.