Divorce is hard for any couple, especially when kids are involved. There are special considerations to take regarding co-parenting during and after a divorce. 60% of all divorces involve younger individuals aged 25 to 39, and these people often have very young children. However, divorce can be challenging no matter how old you or your kids are. Here are some tips for successful and healthy co-parenting at this time.

5 Expert Co-Parenting Tips for Newly Divorced Parents

1. Put the Kids First

Divorce can bring about a range of emotions between a separating couple. Regardless of how you feel about one another, it’s important to put the children first. Regardless of how resilient children are, dealing with separating parents can affect them in ways that may not be immediately obvious. Work together as a couple to ensure your children have as much of a sense of normalcy as possible. Talk to your children to see how they’re feeling.

2. Make Transitions Easier

During a divorce, children now have to deal with two different households. Such a situation can be very confusing for them, especially when they’re young. When divorcing in a state like Maryland, the court will determine where the children live, how time is split, and the degree to which each parent gets to make decisions about their child’s life. Regardless of the results of the final court decision, do what you can to make the transition and the split time as easy as possible for your children. One way to handle this is to have a shared calendar. Be mindful of pickup and drop-off times out of consideration for the other parent. If there is a misunderstanding, try to avoid fighting in front of the child, as the tension and stress may affect them.

3. Practice Good Communication

Regardless of how both are feeling, you must have some level of communication when a child is involved. Make sure you both have active phone numbers that you can use to reach each other. If one of you decides to move, the other parent should be aware of the new address immediately. If there is an emergency involving your child, make sure that other parent knows about it promptly. Take the extra step and have a shared Google Calendar so you’re always in tune with any school events, medical appointments, and other activities related to your children.

4. Stay on Top of Education

Remember, your children must still go to school and maintain their regular life as much as possible. According to Education Week, on average, children who attended preschool missed 1.5 fewer days a year than those who hadn’t attended. Therefore, when it’s time to enroll your children in preschool, after-school programs, private school interviews, etc., both parents should be involved and aware of what’s going on. You both should have the school’s contact information and know your children’s teachers. Regardless of who has custody, both parents should know how well the children are doing in school. Parent-teacher meetings are essential for both custodial and non-custodial parents.

5. Get Counseling

Getting counseling is often a good idea during and after a divorce. You and your spouse can get counseling together to ease the separation terms. You may also want to opt for family counseling along with your child. Depending on the age of your child, they may need a child psychiatrist to help them process their feelings. The amount of time you may need counseling can depend on your family situation, but it’s a valuable resource that can help you and your soon-to-be-former spouse and your child through a tough transition.

Divorce is a hard time for any family. Luckily, you can take steps and seek professional services to help you effectively co-parent your child during this transition. With time and healing, the harsh feelings between you and your spouse may pass. After all, you’ll always be parents to your child, and that’s what matters.