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How could the Covid-19 virus affect your parenting arrangements?

How could Covid-19 virus affect your parenting arrangements?

With the Government’s latest advice for the whole family to self-isolate for 7 days if a member of the family has symptoms of the corona virus – a dry cough, high temperature or loss of sense of smell or taste– the impact on families that are separated could be substantial.

Should both families self-isolate if a case is found within one of the families and the children have been in contact recently with both parents? Should the parent who is not self-isolating see the children still? What if the virus is discovered whilst they are with the parent who they do not usually spend the majority of time with? And finally, the big issue many of us could face – who will care for the children if schools close down?

With the extent and future severity of the virus a complete unknown, it is surely a time when both parents need to work together to prevent further contamination. This can actually have a positive effect on the children – seeing mum and dad working in unison with a combined message on what the children should do.

If one family are having to self-isolate, then regular video or phone calls should be arranged with the other parent and family members. Perhaps the parent not affected could buy food and essentials for them and drop them off to their home, being careful not to come into close contact?

Clearly some discussion would need to be had between the parents – ideally before the need arises – to pre-empt some possible situations.

Areas to discuss may include, but not be limited to:

• What arrangements should be put in place if one of the families needs to self-isolate?
• How can we make sure the children are washing their hands at regular intervals?
• What will we do if one of us, or the children becomes ill?
• How will we communicate with each other and the children, if we need to self-isolate
• What arrangements can we establish for visiting elderly or sick relatives at this time?
• What message about the virus can we tell the children so they are not scared or told contrasting things?
• What arrangements can we put in place if the schools are closed?
• Should we cancel or re-arrange any trips or visits to large events planned with the children?

At Mediate UK we advocate parents working together to ensure their children are raised as healthy and happy as possible. This is needed even more so now and who knows, might set a template that you can use moving forwards once this current situation with the Corona Virus is bought under control.

Ali Carter is Managing Director of Divorce Ltd t/as Mediate UK – you can book a
30-minute consultation with him here if you are going through a divorce or separation:

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