Long-distance parenting is challenging for everyone involved. Whether you have to move because of work or if your children have to move because your ex is moving, it’s critical to have a plan in place to make things work.
The goal of long-distance parenting is to ensure the children and parent have ample opportunities to forge a solid relationship. This might be difficult, but current technology can help to make things easier.
Create a solid parenting plan
Your parenting plan should be as detailed as possible. It should include information about when each parent will have time with the children. Special plans must be included for school breaks since these are often the times when the long-distance parent has a chance to spend time with the children.
Include virtual visits
Technology makes it easier to stay in contact with people, even if you live thousands of miles away. You can use phone calls, video chats and similar methods to communicate. This lets the parent who’s not with the child to read bedtime stories, help with homework and participate in activities. These virtual visits should be set based on the child’s schedule, even if it means the parent has to wake up at unusual times.
Play an active role in the child’s life
Regardless of where you live, your children need you to play an active role in their life. Making this a priority is critical. Even small gestures, such as sending them cards or making videos congratulating them on their accomplishments can mean a lot to your children.
Make in-person visits a priority
While it may be tempting to always have the child go to the long-distance parent’s home, it may be possible to have more time in person together if that parent makes some trips out to where the children live the majority of the time. Virtual visits are an important bridge between in-person visits, but they won’t ever fully replace in-person parenting time.
Having all the terms of your parenting plan geared toward the long-distance factor can help everyone involved. One of the most important things to remember is that the plan must be realistic. Never include terms that will be impossible to comply with. Seeking legal guidance can help you to work out what makes the most sense for your family’s unique circumstances.
Please see our overview, “Tips for Making Co-Parenting Work,” for more helpful information.