My favourite topic! Technology! I thought I’d take an opportunity to write about how technology can be used to help separated and divorced co-parents to be more effective.
First, let’s talk about co-parenting apps! I love to test out the various apps that are out there. They’re a great way to compartmentalize your communication with your co-parent. There’s tons of different ones – some are free, some are paid – a quick Google search will bring up the various options.
There are so many things that separated and divorced parents need to keep track of with each other – child support, expense reimbursement, clothing sizes, professionals’ contact information, important dates and times, activities, appointments, photo swap. There are tons of co-parenting apps out there – some free, some paid – you’ll have to find the one that works best for your family. They vary in features, but all of them have a messaging function and a shared calendar. Check them out! Families I help typically register for Our Family Wizard – it’s my favourite!
Another way to use technology if you’re not into apps is to at the very least subscribe to a shared calendar. These calendars are available free through your email service such as iCloud, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. If you create a calendar called “kids”, you can share it on an editable basis with your co-parent, and you can each put into the calendar relevant things about the kids – birthday parties, special occasions, activity schedules, appointments, and even the parenting schedule etc. This is an easy way to both keep track of everything relating to the kids – you can even share the calendar with the kids for them to see what’s happening as well (you may want to share on a “view-only” basis so that nothing gets deleted by accident).
There’s tons of professionals and organizations who use online portals to organize their clients / patients / students. If you and your co-parent create one email address that’s for all kid-related info, then you can use this email address as the login email, and create a password that will be remembered by both parents. Then, as information about the kids is uploaded to the portal, both parents will have access to all information directly from the professional or organization. If your kids’ school has an online portal, they usually even upload report cards which can be handy for parents.
Another benefit to having a unified email address for kid-related information is that even if a service provider doesn’t have an online portal, it’s likely that they will provide information by email about your child’s involvement. If you both have access to this email inbox, then you won’t have to wait on the other parent to get the information to you.
Have fun experimenting with the various ways that technology can improve your co-parenting relationship.