We are truly navigating uncharted waters, as we go through the COVID-19 pandemic together. Unfortunately, this means that we need to find ways to stay in touch with each other while we responsibly quarantine ourselves to save lives.
In some cases, this means that your child will be staying with the other parent for a while. That decision may have been made because one of the parents, or someone in their household, has either contracted the coronavirus or been exposed to it. This is truly the time for parents to make the hard decisions to protect their children, and this may mean that they won’t have direct contact with the child for some period of time. That, of course, is going to be hard on the non-custodial parent and hard on the child, too.
Thankfully, we live in a day and age where technology can help us stay in touch with our children and loved ones. This pandemic is scary to us as adults, and it must be even more frightening for our children because their lives have been radically altered in a short period of time. Now is the time for us to do our very best to comfort our children and reassure them that things are going to be okay.
The simplest way to stay in touch with your child is with a smart phone. Almost all newer smart phones have the ability to make a video conference call, especially when the phone on each end is using the same operating system (e.g iOS or Android). For Example, if you have two Apple iPhones or two Android phones (i.e. the caller and the person answering the call), the ability to videoconference should be painless. On my Android phone, for example, when I’m making a call, there is a button on the call screen labeled “video call,” which, if pressed by both parties to the call, starts a videoconference and both parties can see one another. On the iPhone, the button is labeled “Facetime” and performs the same function.
This technology, while no means a substitute for a hug or a kiss from your child, at least allows your child to see your face and hear your voice. Most of all, it lets them know that you’re safe and that you still love them. During these trying times, knowing that our loved ones are safe is a precious thing that can’t be underestimated.
There are other ways to videoconference with another parent, however, those ways require some more specific hardware. For example, the Internet video conferencing applications Skype and Zoom.com require you to have a WebCam and a microphone to be fully effective. Most newer laptop computers have video cameras and microphones built into them for just that purpose.
It is probably going to be inconvenient if you’re the custodial parent to have to help your children communicate with their other parent over and over again, especially if you don’t particularly like that parent to begin with. Putting your own feelings aside, it’s important to remember that you’re doing this for your children more than anyone else. Regardless of your feelings for your Ex, your children deeply love and care for that person.
There is no better time to rise to the occasion, help children stay mentally healthy, and hopefully forge a new, more positive relationship with your Ex that will pay dividends for the rest of your child’s life.