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Practical Ideas to Continue Contact with your Child

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When parents separate, it is common for children to live with one parent more of the time. Whichever parent they are with, it is natural for them to miss the other.

What can parents do to make it easier for children and show that they are still valued by both?

First remember there are many types of contact and if your child misses you, there is rarely a good reason that contact should be limited to the days they see you.

In the age of telephones and video calls, children should be able to speak to both of their parents every day if they want to. You can also write, email and communicate on social media if it is appropriate for your child.

As it is not always easy to keep a conversation going, we share some practical ideas to help you continue your parental role and strengthen your bond when you cannot be together.

Educational Activities

  • Homework help:
    • we all have our strengths and weaknesses and if you are best placed to assist with certain homework, or if it will help the other parent for you to do so, you could set up a regular video call to support your child with their studies.
    • schools have started to use more online platforms to set homework and tasks which you can help older children with through screen sharing.
  • Reading: you can read to your child via video call so you can show them the pictures and vice versa.
  • Languages: if your child is learning a language you could set a specific time each week to practice with them on the phone or video call.  You could also write to each other through the post or email in the given language.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Remember contact does not always have to mean a sleepover.  If it is possible to do so, you could take your child to specific regular activities each week then return them to their main home.  If not, you might:

  • Performing Arts: Schedule a regular recital or rehearsal so your child can perform for or practise with you via video call.
  • Sports: Call before and / or after a sports match to wish them good luck or discuss how it went.
  • Arts & Crafts: Choose a theme and draw / paint / make something to show each other on a weekly or monthly basis.  You could also order decorating kits for each of you and make them together via video call. 

Fun and Games

  • If your child has access to a mobile phone or tablet, you can play a variety of games such as scrabble and chess or even mini golf.  Some games require you both to be online together but others are ongoing so you don’t have to be available at the same time to play.
  • Virtual trips to a museum or zoo can be lots of fun, especially in colder months or on rainy days.  There are many websites with recordings of live footage of different animals which you can both see by sharing your screen so you can talk and watch the videos together.  There are tours of museums from different countries so you can look at varied exhibits and artefacts without having to queue or be in a crowd.
  • If your child loves films you could choose films to watch and then discuss together on the phone.  If you and your child both have access to a Netflix account, you can watch a film or show at the same time and use the chat box to communicate with each other.
  • If you and your child have a gaming console, you can play games together and use headsets to talk to each other whilst playing the game.
  • Virtual escape rooms can help team working and communication skills for older children, whilst also having fun.

This list gives just a few of the many options for indirect contact that could help maintain your connection with your child when you are not together.  Every child and family is different so different things may work better for you. 

It is important to remember that the parental role does not cease just because a parent is not with their child and the same can be said for children’s emotions.  If parents can work together to create a positive environment and support their child’s needs, it will have a positive effect on their health, wellbeing and happiness.

Legal Advice

If you find yourself in need of assistance with your child arrangements and would like some advice on how to proceed please get in touch, a Parenting Plan or Child Arrangements Court Order might be beneficial in your circumstances,.  Our specialist knowledge and proven results with child arrangements can help you to navigate through this difficult time.

If you would like to speak confidentially to our team of family solicitors you can call 020 7993 2936 to schedule an appointment or make a Contact Request here.