The prospect of coparenting after divorce — moving on as independent (but hopefully healthy and communicating) parents to the kids, can add a whole new dimension of anxiety and fear to those coping with divorce. However, strictly speaking, coparenting does not have to be that way. Today more than ever before there are an abundance of resources on the subject from coparenting survival tips to best model books and tools. You can find help with everything from scheduling custody visits to finding ways to discuss coparenting issues with your kids and even your ex. To support you during this challenging part of your divorce journey we’ve created the following coparenting guide to provide you with resources as diverse as reading material and apps to movies.
Coparenting and divorce books: For you & your kids
There’s a book out there for every issue and co-parenting is certainly one of them. Stack your shelves with the right books that discuss everything from co-parenting for adults to dealing with divorce for kids. Here are some top picture books about divorce to read with your littlest kids:
- “Two Homes” by Claire Masurel
- “Dinosaurs Divorce” by Marc Brown
- “Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids” by Isolina Ricci PhD
- “My Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together Anymore: A Drawing Book” by Judith Rubin
- “It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear” by Vicki Lansky
- “When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends” by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos and Marta Fabrega
If you are coparenting a teenager, you’ll need to elevate the reading experience from board books to chapter books filled with emotion. Here are some great fiction picks that feature a discussion on divorce:
- “Dear Mr. Henshaw” by Beverly Cleary
- “Fifteen Seconds of Normal” by Alex Marestaing
- “Hatchett” by Gary Paulsen
- “How to Build a House” by Dana Reinhardt
- “The Infinite In Between” by Carolyn Mackler
- “Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine *yes, the movie was based on this book!
- “What Happened to Goodbye” by Sarah Dessen
And as for you and your co-parent, here are some suggested nonfiction readings that will help you cope and develop strategies to make your situation more understandable:
- “The Co-Parents’ Handbook” by Karen Bonnell
- “The Co-Parenting Toolkit” by Isolina Ricci
- “Co-Parenting 101” by Deesha Philyaw and Michael Thomas
- “Mindful Co-Parenting” by Jeremy Gales and James Morris
- “Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex” by Amy Baker and Paul Fine
Apps to assist with coparenting after divorce
When it comes to technology, co-parents have plenty of options for helping manage their busy lives. Apps, in particular, serve a strong purpose here. Check out the apps available that can help you and your ex do everything from organize custody visits seamlessly to track expenses for the kids. Here are some standouts to get you started:
- 2houses for organization of schedules, finances, and medical information; this is a free app
- Kidganizer is similar to 2houses in organization for co-parenting, but it costs $2.99
- Custody Connection is a free app featuring a sharable calendar for setting up custody visits that can be accessed by parents and children
- Parenting Apart offers advice for co-parents on a wide range of applicable topics, such as adjustment issues and how to talk to kids about the situation; costs $1.49
- Skedi is another schedule planning app, but it offers space to go into detail about scheduling, i.e. option to color code schedules and include children’s names for events; is a free app
- Family Wizard, is the current gold standard for coparenting and communicating effectively with your Ex. It is also increasingly recommended by family courts across the country as it provides a way to document information, emails and texts
If you aren’t big into apps for all purposes, you can also use Google Calendar to create a schedule that is easily accessible online. Everyone can use this program via their computer or mobile devices, and it’s free to use.
Movies for coparenting after divorce
Yes, it is true that some movies present coparenting and divorce in a negative light. But wait! There are also family friendly films you can watch with your children that can help them better understand the dynamics of divorce from an outsider’s perspective. Plus, they are simply good entertainment, most of which you can stream on your devices. Flicks to pick up this weekend include:
- Chef discusses spending quality time with kids while coparenting, while in a light-hearted storyline surrounded by food
- Mrs. Doubtfire that shows what parents must endure when dealing with coparenting
- Santa Clause is a seasonal favorite that portrays two busy parents struggling with coparenting
- The Parent Trap, including the original from 1961 or the 1998 remake with Lindsay Lohan
- Liar Liar starring Jim Carrey as a lawyer who learns to choose coparenting over work
- A Monster Calls that discusses the loss of a terminally ill parent, but also notes bullying and other issues children who are dealing with divorce may face
- SPLIT, a nonfiction film sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and portraying real-life accounts of children going through divorce
Using entertainment through books and movies will help ease the burden of coparenting. Reading stories and watching movies about others dealing with divorce can open up the conversation of coparenting with your children. These methods feel less threatening than sitting down and discussing the situation without a barrier.
Creating a healthy coparenting environment
Hopefully you will garner value from implementing these books, movies, and apps when coparenting after divorce. Start by choosing one type of reading material that is age appropriate for your family, along with a movie that you and your kids will want to watch together. As for the apps, play around with these to see which offers the most functionality for your lifestyle. The goal is to get out of a rut as you explore ways to create a healthy coparenting environment.
Looking for more ideas for how to coparent and coparent well? Sign up for a free 45 minute coaching session to explore ideas and create your game plan.