Using a calendar will help your children feel more secure as they attempt to navigate their new world of two homes. The concept is to get a visual outline of the schedule so that they can see at a glance when they will be with each parent. You can purchase a large (22” x 17”) desk or wall calendar around $12 at office supply stores.
Put the parenting schedule on the calendar – use colors and shade in the boxes (light works best) or use a highlighter and put a bar across the top of the date to show where the children will be. The calendar is very useful to respond to the question from children; when will I see mummy/daddy? The calendar as a visual aid. In a very short amount of time even the youngest of children will learn to use the calendar themselves as the parenting schedule is in plain view and is not up for debate. Buy two calendars, put the same schedule on both and give it to the other parent.
An added benefit is that the calendar also supports the schedule for both parents so children have less of a tendency to ask to go to the other parents home.
You can also put all the other events or appointments that children have and this will help you keep organized as well. Doctor’s appointments, school events activities (music lessons, ballet class, soccer) anything that children need to get to or where there is a deliverable. Your schedule can also go on the calendar so the kids know where you are (kids love this – “hey Mom is in Chicago on business today”).
If you children are tech savvy, Cozi has a great shared calendar which is free. www.cozi.com or you can use a shared Google calendar.
Put this concept in your parenting agreement or property settlement agreement if you can. As you prepare for your divorce keep the needs of your children front and center, try to lift the burden of the process off their shoulders as much as you can.