When you go through a divorce and there are children involved, you and your ex-spouse are tied together for life – whether you like it or not. But regardless of how you feel toward your ex, there are small acts of kindness you can undertake to show the other parent that you appreciate their love and care for your children, and to try to make the co-parenting experience as painless as possible for everyone:
- Help the children acknowledge/celebrate their other parent’s birthday. – Take them shopping for a card or gift. Help them bake a cake. Encourage young children to draw a birthday picture. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive. Your ex will appreciate it and your children will be proud that they can give their parent a little something to celebrate.
- Make copies of artwork/school work that your child brings home to give to the other parent. – Often only the parent with whom the children live will have the benefit of seeing all the work that comes home from school. The other parent may only see schoolwork at teacher conferences but, likely, would appreciate having copies of what the children are doing at school. Many young children come home with a plethora of art projects that could easily be split between the parents.
- Make copies of photos of the children’s childhood. – It is likely that only one parent has the pictures taken of the children/family during the marriage. If the pictures were taken before digital cameras, make color copies for your ex. If the pictures are all on the computer, upload them to a photo-sharing site and send them to your ex.
- Make sure the children have all their “lovies” and other necessities before going to sleep at the other parent’s house. – Nothing will ruin visitation or custodial time faster than a child forgetting his favorite blanket at the other parent’s house. Do your best to make sure your child has everything they need to be comfortable and, if a child forgets something, offer to bring it over. Your ex, and your child, will thank you.
- Say thank you. – This one is easy, but often forgotten. If your ex does any of the above for you, or anything else thoughtful, thank him/her for it. Showing your appreciation will hopefully make him/her continue with these kind actions and lead to a better co-parenting experience for all!