Having to be away from your children likely isn’t easy. When you don’t live near them, you aren’t going to be able to see them as often as you would if you lived in the same city or country. Unfortunately, life’s circumstances sometimes require a parent to move to a new area. This might be for military service or for a job.
Coping with a long-distance relationship is hard for the parents, but it is usually even more difficult for the children. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make the situation easier for everyone involved.
Visits and parenting time
Scheduling time for the children to visit so you can enjoy parenting time can be challenging. You will have to work around school and extracurricular activity schedules. Because of this, both parents are going to have to be fairly flexible when it comes to making this time happen.
Getting from one home to the other
You also need to think about the transportation of the children. Depending on the distance, this might mean making flight arrangements or driving. Determine ahead of time how these costs will be handled. The cost of plane tickets may be divided equally or each parent may pay for their own gas when picking up or dropping off the children.
Setting communication standards
Children need to have easy access to communicate with the other parent. You don’t have to rely solely on phone calls now. Video chats, instant messages and texts help everyone stay in touch. Remember that neither parent can censor these conversations. The child must always be able to speak freely to both parents. Sharing videos of the children, such as a video of a school play, might help the absent parent to feel connected.
Co-parenting in a long-distance situation takes work. Parents must do what they can to help the child adjust to this way of life. There are bound to be some challenges and disagreements. Remember that respectful communication and open negotiations can help resolve things in the child’s best interests.
Have the terms of the agreement spelled out in the parenting plan. This gives you a physical document to review when there are issues so you can find out if there is already a plan in place for handling inevitable bumps in the road.