Successful co-parenting is all about good communication. And while we hope that we’d always be able to speak to our former partner amicably, the reality is that emotions, stress and the demands of daily life mean we don’t always communicate in a way that’s helpful or clear.
Good communication isn’t just about being able to speak to the other parent. When it comes to kids and everything they have going on, it’s important that both parents are kept in the loop about activities, appointments and even expenses.
Of course, there’s an app for just about everything, and that includes apps that help separated parents communicate, coordinate and care for their children.
One of the benefits of apps is that we always have our phones with us. While email can be helpful to share documents or handle other matters, sometimes you just need to quickly check who’s picking the kids up for the weekend or which week of the school holidays you have them with you.
The other benefit of using an app is that it can take a lot of the emotion out of the communication. With their small screens and functional interface, there’s little room for long and potentially inflammatory messages sent in the heat of the moment.
When choosing an app for you to manage your children’s information, it’s important that you’re both on board with using it and willing to check in regularly. We suggest trying out a couple until you find the app that meets your needs.
Below we’ve found a few apps that may make shared parenting that bit easier.
Our Family Wizard
Our Family Wizard is designed to streamline all the aspects of shared parenting, from scheduling to communication and child-related expenses. The platform was developed by a divorced dad as a way for him to overcome the challenges of communication with his children’s parent.
This is a pretty comprehensive app that offers a lot of features. It includes a shared calendar function so you can upload and view your kid’s activities and appointments, as well as view your parenting arrangements. You can even request changes to care arrangements inside the app, which might be good if you need a way to keep track of these.
Our Family Wizard has a message function which allows you to keep communication all in the one spot. There’s even a tool that measures the overall tone of the message and flags potentially inflammatory words, providing suggestions for phrases less likely to cause conflict.
Finally, the expense log helps to track child-related expenses and attach receipts for additional transparency.
Our Family Wizard is available for iPhone and Android, and also has a website with information and advice for parenting effectively. The app is developed in the US but works across any platform.
While not a free app, it might ideal if you want to keep all your communication and scheduling in one place.
If you’re looking for a simple way to track kids appointments and activities, then Cozi could be the answer.
While not specifically designed for separated families, the app’s shared calendar functionality makes it easy to see events related to each child.
Cozi also features a To Do list function which can be used to add reminders related to your children, such as a note to pick up school books or sign a permission slip.
Cozi is free to use and available from the Apple and Google Play stores.
2Houses is another app designed with separated parents in mind. This app is designed to manage the practical aspects of shared parenting, with some additional features to share information easily.
The app has a shared calendar to keep track of care arrangements and activities, along with an expense tracker to see child-related expenses.
In addition, 2Houses features a messaging app that allows you to communicate with the other parent within the app. You can also invite your mediator into the app, if required, to keep all communication in the one spot.
It also has a journal and photo sharing feature built in. The idea is that, even if the children are with the other parent, they can still share stories, photos and videos of what the kids are up to.
2Houses is a subscription-based app with monthly and annual payments available. You can sign up for a 14-day trial to see if it’s right for you.
A simple and straightforward app, Custody Connection is designed to simply help you manage your shared care arrangements. There’s a main shared calendar that syncs with your own calendar so you can manage your schedule. The app also features a trade request feature, allowing you to request swaps and see if they’ve been accepted by the other parent in the app.
You can also add other people to the shared calendar, allowing grandparents, babysitters and others to see your care arrangements easily.
Custody Connection is a free app and only available from the Apple store.
Each matter is unique and needs to be addressed according to your personal circumstances. Our experienced family lawyers can help you navigate all aspects of your parenting arrangements, including care arrangements. Contact our office on (02) 6212 7600 to make an appointment.