Schedule a Weekly Phone Call to the child’s ‘other parent’

It may be worthwhile setting up a weekly phone call at a time that is convenient for both parents, after the children have gone to bed so they cannot overhear the phone call.  You should agree an agenda and stick to it. 

Discuss good news stories – information about what the children has done that week – tidied their room, got an A for maths, had their first piano lesson, etc.

Health-related matters out of the way – discuss any medical issues, including appointments at the doctor’s, hospital, dentist, opticians, etc. 

School/Nursery – how the children are doing in class, homework, extra-curricular activities, reports, forthcoming parents’ evenings, school plays, concerts, etc.

Care of the children – include such things as nap-times, bedtimes, diet, what they like to eat this week and what they don’t (because it may well be different from last week!), progress with toilet training, etc.  It is very important that children’s routines are as uninterrupted as possible when they spend time with their non-resident parent.

Behaviour and discipline – children need a consistent approach so both parents need to know of any behavioural issues and agree how best to deal with them.

Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, Holidays – you may already have drawn up a parenting plan and wherever possible you should keep to that plan.  Any changes you would like to make to the plan should be requested and not demanded.  You should give plenty of notice if you want to make a variation to the plan.

‘Any other business’ – here you can discuss anything that has arisen that is not covered in the topics above or give advance warning of something in the future.

Clarify the date and time of the next call – wherever possible the call should be at the same time each week for consistency and ease for you both, but this may not always be possible.  If you feel the need to contact the other parent in between calls, consider whether an additional call is necessary or whether it could wait until the next scheduled call.  If it can’t wait but is not an emergency, consider emailing instead.

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