Not all parents who divorce are able to remain in the same geographical area as their child. When a parent must relocate, it can be challenging to maintain a close relationship with a son or daughter. Despite the challenges involved with parenting from afar, it’s vitally important that you make every effort to remain involved in your child's life.
Even if you are living in another state, there are ways to stay present in your child’s life. When your child is not in your physical custody, the following tips can help foster and maintain a strong parent-child connection.
Establish a detailed plan
A child custody plan must be detailed. Such a plan should account for when a child will be with each parent. In the case of long-distance custody situations, you might not be able to include specific dates in the agreement since these will likely depend on a child’s school schedule. However, including wording such as "the first Monday of summer break" can be helpful.
Be sure that the custody order also includes information about a child’s transportation to and from each home. For example, maybe you and your ex will split the cost of your child's round-trip flights to travel between parents. The more detailed your plan, the less likely there will be misunderstandings for these financial responsibilities in the future.
Talk to your child often. You can do this over the phone, through video chats or by texting. If you are in a different time zone, take this into account when you are making plans for contacting your child. If you are across the globe, this may mean that you need to plan middle-of-the-night wake-ups to accommodate your child’s schedule.
Find ways to celebrate successes
Your child will likely have important events that you will miss. Try to find ways to celebrate these moments in your own special way. Be sure to ask for pictures or videos of the event. Call your child beforehand to wish him or she good luck and afterward to talk about what happened and to offer congratulations. The more interested and active you remain in your child’s day-to-day life, the more he or she will continue to view you as an important part of it.
Don't forget about the little things
Even things like reading a toddler a book can mean a lot. You can do this by planning video chats or even recording videos for your child to watch. For older children, you can help with homework or watch game highlights while you are on a video chat.
The key to making long-distance parenting successful is to figure out what works for your child. The goal is to create a strong parent-child bond so that your child realizes that the miles between you don't mean that you are any less of their parent.