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Practical tips for child contact during Coronavirus

1. Make use of Zoom, WhatsApp video calls, FaceTime and Skype. Agree that these calls can take place more regularly than may have happened before.

2. Allow time for children to make a videos and take pictures etc. for the parent they may not be able to see as regularly.

3. If children are able to move safely between their respective parents’ homes, agree what is and is not appropriate during their time with the children. For example, are both parents in agreement with Government guidance that it is notappropriate to take the children to the supermarket or to a local play park. However, do both parents feel comfortable with children going out on a bike ride, a run or walk with their parent supervising them?

4. Agree on what is expected in relation to school work now that the schools are closed. Draw up a daily timetable for schoolwork that each parent will be able to follow taking into account their own work commitments. Most school work is online but if it’s not, and the children are still moving safely between homes, parents need to make sure that the children have the books and resources they need.

5. If one parent is missing out on time with the children, consider agreeing additional holiday time later in the year. Parents need to be as flexible as possible with arrangements.

6. Whatever adaptations and changes are necessary, children will need to feel reassured that their parents love them and will be there for them in whatever way possible. We need to remember that the current situation will be causing most children some anxiety and it is therefore even more crucial than ever to minimise parental conflict.

7. If you can’t agree on changes to arrangements, consider an urgent telephone/webcam meeting with a mediator or trusted neutral third party.

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