If you’re divorced or separated, then it’s likely your children live in a two-home family – they have one childhood lived across two homes! The following checklist will help you assess your two-home parenting readiness.
- Cross off the skills that you know you are fully competent in.
- Place an underline under the skills that are a “work in progress.”
- Highlight the skills that “need immediate attention” and tackle them now – reach out to a parenting coach if you need assistance.
You goal is to ensure that you’re fulfilling your job as a competent two-home parent for your kids.
Home life: Meal prep / packing lunches, dressing, bathing, bedtime routines (are there 3 – 5 steps that your children are use to?), morning routines (what’s the typical flow of morning routines in both homes?), maintaining activity schedules, play dates (contacting parents of peers), and keeping the home environment neat-enough/developmentally safe (think baby-proofing across the ages!)
Nurturing skills: Listening, soothing, calming, using patience, expressing emotional warmth, guiding, protecting and gently building confidence that your child is growing up “just fine”
Structuring skills: Helping children follow through on age-appropriate chores (coordinate with your co-parent when possible!), logical consequences for choices when out-of-bounds, maintaining rhythms and schedules (coordinate across both homes), teaching problem-solving, and appropriate application of discipline and repair
School: Connecting to academic websites, supervising / supporting homework, maintaining relationships with teachers / school groups, attending child-centered activities and parent-teacher conferences
Healthcare: Meeting day-to-day healthcare needs, managing/administering over-the-counter and prescribed medications and/or treatments, communicating with your co-parent when medical intervention is needed or something unusual happens, and participating in decision making regarding health care per your parenting plan agreements
Belongings: Keeping a set of basic clothing and personal care items for each child in your home, as well as typical over-the-counter medications your children may need
Space: Provide your children adequate space, bedding, study space for school-age children, toys and other elements to meet their comfort needs in their home with you
Transitions: Helping prepare for transition (clothes clean, return special items to their other home), supporting them as they pack (stuffy packed?), facilitating transportation per agreements, and providing a transition report via email so your co-parent has an update and can be up and running they take over care of the children
To learn more: Check out excerpt from Karen’s book, THE PARENTING PLAN WORKBOOK, pp 31-32.