How co-parents can plan ahead for sick days

Kids pick up germs pretty much everywhere they go, and parents aren’t exactly immune from colds and flu themselves. Unexpected illnesses for a parent or child can create a lot of frustrations — especially when you have to add juggling a custody schedule into the mix.

It’s time to plan ahead — before the fall cold and flu season gets here. Here are some tips that you and your co-parent can use to ease tensions when someone is ill:

Have a complete “medical tool kit” on hand

If your child gets sick while they’re with you, you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Make sure that you and your co-parent both have:

  • The names and contact information of your child’s doctors
  • Copies of the insurance card or cards your child uses
  • A complete list of your child’s immunizations
  • A complete list of your child’s medication and allergies

Having those items readily available can be essential in any kind of health care situation.

Have an agreement about custody when someone is ill

Ideally, co-parents should be flexible about “sick days,” whether it’s the parent or child who is sick. That flexibility can be built into your parenting plan by including things like:

  • An agreement not to trade the kids for visitation if either they or the parent who currently has custody may have something contagious
  • An agreement to reschedule any lost visitation time that either parent may experience due to illness as soon as possible
  • An agreement to allow generous “virtual visitation” and contact via phone calls or messages from the absent parent, particularly when the child is sick

The goal of a good parenting plan is to look ahead, anticipate problems that divorced parents may encounter and provide a structure for a solution. If your old parenting plan seems to have some gaps in it, it may be time to discuss your options.