Working out our parenting schedule is overwhelming. Do you have any tips for simplifying the process?

Working out our parenting schedule is overwhelming. Do you have any tips for simplifying the process?


Dear Ben

Working out and managing a parenting time schedule can be a daunting task.  You have to balances emotions and logistics – for the adults and the children. The most important thing to remember is that both parents should keep the welfare of their child as the priority with any decisions.

Open communication is crucial. It is absolutely essential that you and your ex-partner are on the same page when it comes to the parenting schedule. This can be easier said than done, particularly if the end of your relationship was acrimonious. However, if you both remain focused on the wellbeing of your children, it becomes easier to set aside personal differences and focus on what really matters – your kids.

A practical tip to streamline your schedule is to use digital tools. There are many apps designed to help parents manage parenting arrangements. Such apps have features like shared calendars, expense tracking, and in-app messaging. They can be instrumental in avoiding misunderstandings and providing a clear structure that both parents can reference easily.  There are lots of different ones so it is worth checking them out and seeing if they offer a free trial.

Creating a ‘buffer’ or changeover zone can also alleviate some stress. This could be a neutral space like a park or shopping centre where your child is dropped off and picked up. This minimises direct confrontation between you and your ex-partner and helps to maintain a peaceful environment for your child.  Many parents opt for changeover at school which can provide a nice buffer for children as they leave one parent in the morning, have the day at school and then are picked up by the other parent.

Try to keep some elements of the child’s routine consistent, regardless of where they are staying. Whether it’s a bedtime ritual or a particular breakfast choice, such uniformity offers comfort and stability. It’s often the simple things that can provide a sense of normality in a complicated situation.

Most importantly, be flexible. Even the best-laid plans can unravel, and your kids need the parents to tbe the ones who adapt as needed, not them. This could be because of unexpected work commitments, illness, or even special occasions like birthdays. The more accommodating you and your ex-partner can be, the smoother the process will become for everyone involved.

I understand that these suggestions are easier to list than to implement, but remember that the most challenging undertakings often offer the most significant rewards. As you navigate this challenging journey, never lose sight of what makes it all worthwhile: the happiness and well-being of your kids.

Best wishes, 

Jennifer Hetherington

Family Mediator and Parenting Coordinator

*Name changed

This information is general in nature.  Seek independent legal advice about your specific situation.


Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

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