As the new year approaches, it’s a good idea to seize the opportunity to simultaneously reflect and plan ahead. For example, for co-parents, this is an ideal time to review and possibly revise their parenting plan. A parenting plan, generally established during a divorce or separation, outlines how parents share responsibilities and time with their children.
If you are in a co-parenting relationship, it’s a good idea to ask yourself what worked this year – and what didn’t – so that if adjustments to your arrangement need to be made for the following year, you can approach this task proactively.
Considerations worth pondering
Children grow and their needs evolve. What worked in a parenting plan a year ago might not be suitable today. The new year is a good checkpoint to assess whether the current arrangement still serves the best interests of your children. New concerns could relate to their educational needs, extracurricular activities, social life or simply their age-related changes. Similarly, as children grow older, they might have their own preferences and opinions about how they spend their time. The new year can be a time to listen to their wishes and, if appropriate, incorporate their views into the parenting plan. This inclusion can help children feel valued and understood.
And, just as children grow, parental circumstances can also change. Evolving circumstances might include job changes, relocation, new relationships or adjustments in living situations. The start of a new year is an opportune time to evaluate these changes and determine if your parenting plan needs adjustments to better accommodate a new situation.
Ultimately, an outdated parenting plan can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Regular reviews help to ensure that both parents are on the same page, reducing the potential for disagreements. This proactive approach can help to maintain (or slowly cultivate) a harmonious co-parenting relationship.