Unfortunately, not all parents are able to spend time with their children as much as they would like or are able to. Following separation, many things changes and new living arrangements and work commitments can lead to parents feeling isolated from their children. However, these changes do not mean you lose your connection to your children, you can still connect even when you aren’t physically together.
How to stay connected with your child after divorce
Connecting with babies and younger children can be more difficult than connecting the teens. They have short attention spans and often become restless when they are frustrated and don’t understand the situation, such as when talking on the phone to another parent.
Ways to stay connected with babies
It is important for babies and younger children to see you and you’re your voice as frequently as possible for short periods of time. Some things you can do in that short time include:
- Sing a short song to their baby
- Read a short story/picture book
- Do a very brief video call
- Play your musical instrument
- Engage toddlers with some pictures during the video call
Ways to stay connected with young children
Young children often cannot articulate what they have done in a day or understand yours, so keep it focused on something they will enjoy rather than force conversation.
As your child gets older, they stay more engaged, and more options become available, however, you may still need to be creative.
Try to aim for at least 2-3 contact points each week:
- If using video call, find an interesting environment, such as a park or event.
- Find things to show your child, such as a family pet or an interesting insect.
- Send your client a letter and some pictures. Children still find it exciting to check the mail and will be excited to receive something of their own.
- Play with your child, for example, send your child some playdough and over a video call sculpt things together.
Ways to stay connected with Teenagers
As your children reach adolescence, it gets a bit challenging. They are often more interested in their friends, social and extra-curricular activities rather than family. Even face-to-face interactions can be limited to grunts and teenage attitudes and you may be tempted to think “why bother”. But do bother, they may not show it but children care and notice when you aren’t around or don’t communicate.
Most teenagers have their own mobile phones, which makes it easier to stay in touch using text and social media platforms.
Obviously, when children are younger, you are going to have to negotiate with the residential parent and have them facilitate and support the contact.
If your co-parenting relationship is problematic and agreeing on how communication can work is difficult, you may want to try working through the issues in family mediation.