Tips to stay involved as a non-custodial parent

It can be difficult for a parent after divorce if you can not see your child on a daily basis. Follow the tips below to maintain a close bond with your child, even if you no longer live together.

Tips to stay involved as a non-custodial parent

1. Meet the teacher

  • If you're no longer the person your child brings school notices and reports cards to, it can be all too easy to slip out of touch with your child's education. That's why it's even more important to make it to Back to School nights to meet the teacher and sign up for email contact lists.
  • You should also make sure that the school office has your new contact information on file and that you receive all school-wide notices. Most of these will be mundane, but you will stay informed about events and be able to keep up with your child's progress in the classroom by touching base with the teacher periodically.

2. Keep a calendar

  • In addition to keeping tabs on your child's school work, you should add his or her activities and events into your calendar. Even if it's no longer your responsibility to do pick-ups or drop-offs during the week, just knowing where your child is and what he or she is doing will give you a sense of what his or her daily life is like.
  • Having a complete schedule will allow you to attend special events, like school concerts and sports games, to support your child's interests. You'll also be better able to predict how tired or energetic your child will be for your weekends together and make plans accordingly.

3. Embrace technology

  • Chances are your child can't remember a time without email and cell phones, and these modern conveniences offer a great opportunity for casual check-ins.
  • Texting is the most low-key way to keep in touch with your child. You can send a pep-talk message before a big test, a congratulations on hitting a home run, or ask something as simple as what he or she'd like for breakfast on Sunday. Short texts or emails are perfect for keeping up the kind of ordinary chatter that you would experience if you were still living together.

4. Relax

  • When your child is visiting, don't feel like you have to pack in a whole week's worth of fun into just two days. It's important to schedule down time for you and your child to just be together without doing much of anything.
  • Everyday activities like taking a walk, sharing a pizza in front of the TV, or playing a board game will give you a chance for quiet conversation that will keep you connected, even when you're apart.
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