Here are some additional tips that will help keep your co-parenting arrangement running smoothly. Test them out to see which ones work for you, and try to implement as many of them as possible:
Co-parenting tip #1: Arrange casual parenting meetings on a routine basis
Do the two of you work in the same general area? If so, try to arrange times to meet on your lunch break at a local park or restaurant. Assuming the two of you are friends and can remain civil, this will give you a chance to shoot the breeze or talk about the kids without them around. Such conversations will help you keep on the same page as far as parenting goes, and simply shooting the breeze together about the sources of pride and joy in your life can alleviate a lot of the anxiety that otherwise builds up when you rarely talk to each other. It promotes a sense of trust.
Co-parenting tip #2: Utilize a shared online calendar
Each of you will be arranging for and coordinating activities and doctor’s appointments for the kids (which are usually made according to the doctor’s schedule, not your own). And when your child’s teacher sends home that note about an upcoming event at school, it only goes out once, with whoever happens to have custody on that day. This is why setting up an online calendar that each of you can access and post to at any time will save you a lot of hassle. It’s quite easy to get caught up in other things and forget to tell the other parent. Get in the habit of immediately posting any events or appointments to the calendar (you can often do this from a smart phone) and that way both of you can stay on top of any events in your child’s schedule.
Co-parenting tip #3: Create an online communication board
On the same token, consider coming up with a way to coordinate discipline across households, such as creating a common messaging board via the Internet that both of you communicate through. (It should be private, not public.) It can help you keep on top of homework assignments, school projects, or other aspects of co-parenting. Text messages and emails can work, too, but since these are read once and then tossed, you may find it more effective to go bigger. Another benefit to a shared family bulletin board is that you can use it to post pictures and artwork from the children.
Co-parenting tip #4: Better yourselves together
Parenting is nothing if not a challenge, and a good way to try and keep your skills polished and stay on the same page is to better yourselves together. An easy way to accomplish this is to agree to read the same parenting books on whatever self-education schedule you set for yourselves.
Maybe you pick one book each year, and your ex picks one book, and you read these on your own pace but at the same time and within a deadline. Then discuss different ideas or things you found interesting from each publication when you’re done. Not only does this make you more skilled & knowledgeable parents, but it can create a stronger connection and more coordinated mindset between the two of you.
Another approach is to take parenting classes together. These can be more cumbersome and expensive, but many parents like this approach simply because they enjoy the group setting, which allows them to make connections with other parents. Whichever route you go, bettering yourselves together can give co-parenting a valuable boost.