In commuter families, parents live and work in different towns or states. Children might live at home with one parent, while the other comes home between work periods. Consider these tips to help you raise successful kids.
- Sometimes we need help. Developing a network of friends who are willing to step in and “co-parent” on occasion (babysit, pick up a kid from school, grab an item at the store, etc.) is worth the while. Talking beforehand to folks about how you’d love to have such a reciprocal relationship with them can ease the way to asking for help during an emergency. It takes a village!
- Use any occasion as an excuse to celebrate or ritualize. Family traditions can be built around the usual rites of passage (birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc), but can also be built on less commonly thought of events—the first day of school, the return of a traveling mom or dad to the house, Saturday mornings, good report card day. Make some fun!
- Stay connected to the commuting parent in creative ways. Skype or video chat each day. Text often to just say “hi.” Save family meetings for when everyone is at home. Eat dinner “together” as often as possible—even if that means having a conference call meal! Try sharing one good and one difficult thing from each person’s day. Or use conversation starter cards to help discussions go a little deeper.