Sometimes, your child will relocate with their other parent in a voluntary or court-approved move for the other parent’s new opportunities in education, work, or to be near their extended family. In that case, you may begin long-distance parenting with your child in between the times you have your child back in your city.
As your child will already have an adjusted custody arrangement due to the move, your physical duties as a parent may change, but that does not mean that your relationship with your child must also change.
Maintaining A Relationship
One of your top priorities as a long-distance parent is maintaining your relationship with your child to the best of your ability. Your child should feel cared for and loved, even if the time you physically spend together is short and infrequent.
Find a hobby that you and your child can enjoy together virtually or over Facetime. Some of our favorites are:
● Watching movies together over Zoom or another screen sharing program
● Playing virtual games together that align with your child’s interests
● Competing in video game tournaments together
● Reading bedtime stories together over Facetime or Zoom
● Going on a virtual field trip together and taking online tours of your favorite sites
● Cooking or baking together by making the same recipe over Zoom or Facetime
Spending time with your child over the phone demonstrates to them that you will still be their parent even if you can’t be close by. If you have hobbies that you would do together before the move, try and continue those virtually if possible.
If you have a good relationship with your child’s other parent, ask them to keep you in the loop about your child’s life and activities. Knowing about your child’s extracurricular activities brings more opportunities for you to connect with your child. Make sure to Facetime and congratulate your child after recitals or school musicals or after big sports games. Facetime in from the stands for your child’s baseball games or ask your child’s custodial parent to record their recitals so that you can watch too.
Staying involved also means keeping up with milestones. If your child loses their first tooth, chip in towards the tooth fairy fund. Help your child study for their learner’s permit test. Make sure that your child feels like they can share these milestones with you so that you can celebrate together.
If you do not have a good relationship with the custodial parent, find ways to independently stay connected to your child through school websites, frequent use of your child’s texting or kid-approved social media. Also find other connections to the new area such as your connection with your child’s coaches, religious leaders or other extra-curricular activities leaders.
A Cohesive Front
Even if you are not physically close by, you should do what you can to create a cohesive front with your child’s other parent. Sending mixed messages to your child can be confusing, and it becomes problematic when your parenting styles are notably inconsistent. Communicating with your child’s other parent about rewards, punishments and standards should be a priority to ensure that your child receives the same messages from both parents.
If you have questions about a move-away that has not yet been determined, or if you have other questions about your child custody situation, call our experienced child custody attorneys at (626) 340-0955 today to schedule a confidential consultation.