Coparenting is a challenge for many single parents. Frankly, including your ex may not come naturally at all, especially after everything you've been though. Yet, going out of your way to work together in a healthy coparenting relationship is one of the most selfless things you can do for your kids.
1. Invite Your Ex to Your Kids' Sporting Events
If you're looking for a way to include your ex more frequently, but you don't feel like you've established a good coparenting relationship just yet, inviting him or her to your kids' sporting events is an easy way to begin to be more inclusive. This doesn't mean that you have to arrive together or even sit together. It just means that you go out of your way to make sure that your coparent knows the schedule and feels welcome to attend. In the end, this selfless effort will mean a lot to your kids!
2. Invite Your Ex to Your Kids' Birthday Parties
This requires a bit more courage, as birthday parties usually include extended family members who may not care for your ex. However, if the focus is truly on your kids, then including your ex in their birthday celebrations is a no-brainier. Be sure to inform your ex of the event in a timely manner, too, so that it does not appear to be a haphazard, last-minute thought.
3. Ask Your Ex to Step in Before You Hire a Babysitter
Of course, your ex is no babysitter. He or she is your children's other parent. However, you may not automatically think of deferring to your ex when you need to hire a babysitter, and yet it should be the most natural thing in the world to ask your ex to step in for you when needed. The nice thing about this kind of inclusion is that it usually comes back around. The next time your ex needs to hire a sitter during his or her parenting time, you might be the one to get the call.
4. Ask Your Ex to Pet-Sit While You're Away
Asking your ex to pet-sit for your kids' pets isn't just an olive branch, it's also a great way to help the children feel more comfortable about leaving the pets behind when you go on vacation. In addition, your ex will probably feel more close to the kids while taking care of their pets, too. Keep in mind, also, that this doesn't mean that your ex has to have access to your home while you're away. You can also make arrangements for the pets to stay in his or her home for the duration of your trip.
5. Invite Your Ex to One or Two Holiday Celebrations Per Year
Shared holidays are the ultimate "evidence indicators" of a positive coparenting relationship, and it may be years before you're ready for this step. Just know that it's a possibility you can work toward, and it can make your kids' lives a lot easier, especially as they get older and start to feel more torn by having to attend so many different holiday events with each part of the family.