Parenting and Children during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown (Part 3)
16 April 2020
In a three-part blog, family lawyer and mediator Edward Cooke and psychotherapist Adele Ballantyne, of national family law organisation Resolution’s Parenting after Parting committee, consider the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on parents and children.
In the first two parts of our blog on Parenting and Children during the lockdown, we have looked at the official guidance laid down by the government and the courts as to how parents should manage the situation and also, in Adele’s blog, at the psychological aspects of the situation.
In this third part, I am setting out five practical tips for parents for coping with the lockdown.
Practical tips for parents
1. If you are separating or separated, follow the guidance issued by trying to agree the best arrangements in the current situation, i.e. taking on board the government guidance which allows for movement between homes but at the same time looking at your own family’s situation (see my first blog for more details on this). There may be strong reasons why a child should not travel. If that is the case, then I have seen many families put in place fantastic alternative arrangements – ranging from video conferencing to online gaming, family film nights to online cooking.
2. If you are not able to agree what arrangements would be best for you family and have a different view on what arrangements should be put in place, consider working with a family law mediator or a family consultant who can help you find common ground and child focused solutions. You can find details of Resolution trained mediators and of family consultants on the Resolution website – www.resolution.org.uk. These professionals will be able to help you via video conferencing seek solutions (they will obviously not be able to meet people face to face in the current climate).
3. Do bear in mind how tough this situation is for your children. As if not seeing their friends, attending school or missing key public exams is not tough enough, children in separated or separating families will face additional pressures. I would particular recommend the Young Minds website - https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/, which has excellent advice and guidance for young people and for parents as to how to cope in the current crisis. Your child might like the opportunity to share their worries with a counsellor – many child counsellors work online and are providing fantastic support to children to help them through this difficult time.
4. Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) have produced really helpful advice for families on their website at https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/covid-19-guidance-for-children-and-families/. This includes a helpful advice article on co-parenting and child arrangements in the current climate.
5. Finally, do look at the Resolution website, and in particular the Parenting after Parting section at https://resolution.org.uk/looking-for-help/parents-children-the-law/. There is lots of information on the Resolution website to assist separating families, signposting parents to legal support (solicitors and mediators) and to other organisations who can help (for example if a parent is facing domestic abuse whilst in lockdown).