In my experience, there are three main things you must focus on to be a good co-parent, other than your children of course. These are respect for the other parent, communication and organisation. All three of these can be brought into play by using a communication book for co-parenting.
A communication book (also called a handover book) is a book used by co-parents to share information about their children when they move from one home to another. Many co-parents use a communication book by choice. In some cases a communication book for co-parenting is ordered by the Family Court.
Here are six reasons why to use a communication book for co-parenting.
6 REASONS TO USE A COMMUNICATION BOOK FOR CO-PARENTING
LEAVE EMOTIONS AT THE DOOR
To co-parent successfully it is important to separate your feelings about you ex from your role of raising your children. This is easier said than done! When you communicate face-to-face or via a telephone conversation, emotions are conveyed (often accidentally) by a tone of voice or body language. Sticking to the written word, whether it be a co-parenting app, email or a handover book, makes for more effective and peaceful communication.
A COMMUNICATION BOOK FOR CO-PARENTING IS OLD SCHOOL
Talking of emails and apps, there are many ways to liaise with your ex through the written word, however a book can be more personal. It also means you receive all the information at handover time, as opposed to sending and receiving emails or messages at any time of the day or night. Another advantage is that your children can join in if they like. Writing their own messages or drawing pictures allows their voices to be heard and can also lighten the mood.
IT CAN RESOLVE ARGUMENTS (BEFORE THEY START)
If your relationship is still volatile and an argument can spring up from the most innocent chat, a handover book can be a godsend. It can be a valuable reference if your ex complains that he didn’t know Little Johnny fell and hit his head last week. If you wrote it in the book, you can cut the argument short before it starts. Anything that can diffuse an argument will make you better co-parents.
A COMMUNICATION BOOK FOR CO-PARENTING CAN BE USED IN COURT
Like emails, apps and even social media posts, anything that is written in a communication book for co-parenting can be used as evidence in a family law case. This makes it an extremely valuable reference. In addition, just knowing what is written could be scrutinised at some point makes both parents behave better. Using ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and being respectful to each other can go a long way in a co-parenting relationship.
REASONS TO USE A HANDOVER BOOK FOR CO-PARENTING (CONT.)
STICK TO THE PLEASANTRIES
By using a communication book for all the practical matters, you can concentrate on being civil and respectful at handover. Rather than starting a conversation about why Little Johnny had a day off school on Tuesday, which might ignite an argument, just write it in the book. Instead, ask each other how the week has been, tell them they look well … and keep on smiling.
IT GOOD FOR THE KIDS TO SEE
Being a good co-parent is a great way to role model to your children what a healthy, low-conflict relationship can look like. Using a communication book for co-parenting indicates that you respect each other as co-parents. It shows you take time to share information and to listen to one another. If your children know their separated parents are working together peacefully to raise them, they will feel safe and happy … which can only be a good thing.