At Lilly Pilly, when communication between parents is difficult, we encourage parents to start communicating with each other through the use of a contact or communication book.
Typically the child/ren carry the book in their bag between visits to each parent. It is preferable if it is a medium sized, bound book with numbered pages (pages can tend to go missing).
The contact book is about the children with regards to their needs and anything else you think could be relevant.
Keep it very simple and respectful; positive and child focused.
Remember, Magistrates like to read communication books.
Emails or text messages can soon get out of hand when emotions are high and the ability to instantaneously fire a retaliatory rocket in return. STOP!
This book is NOT about child support, court matters or money. It’s about your children, NOT you.
Lead by example!. Don’t automatically expect the communication you send will be returned with the equal amount of openness and honesty.
You lead with the high road. Very short and simple. No ‘war and peace’ ..
Possibly think “what would I like the other parent to tell me about, when the child\ren were in their care?”
Examples of what should be in the book are;
“We all had a good few days. Both the children are well”
Medical issues, “Johnny had his needles on Wednesday”, “Billy fell over at kindy on the swings and bruised his knee”
Changing times, “Would it be possible to change September 23 to the following week September 30 as Sophie has a school excursion on September 23 that she would like to attend.?”
It is NOT the children’s responsibility to inform each parent what they have been doing whilst in the other parents care.
Although you may feel this is a simple question, “what did you do with mum last week?”, it can soon become an interrogation that makes the child very uncomfortable.
A quick ice breaker – “did you have fun with mum last week?”, “yes”, “that’s great” , Then move on … “would you like to play on the swings?