Co-parenting Tips: 5 Simple Ways to Include Your Ex

Foster a Better Relationship With Your Ex

Co-parenting is a challenge for many single parents. And frankly, making an effort to include 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 co-parenting relationship is one of the most selfless things you can do for your kids. So give these tried-and-true coparenting tips a go and see whether you notice any positive changes as a result:

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Invite Your Ex to Your Kids' Sporting Events

Invite your ex to your kids' sporting events. Photo &169; Hola Images/Getty Images

If you're looking for a way to include your ex more frequently, but you don't feel like you've established a good co-parenting 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 co-parent knows the schedule and feels welcome to attend. In the end, this selfless effort will mean a lot to your kids!

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Invite Your Ex to Your Kids' Birthday Parties

Kids' Birthday Party
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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.

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Ask Your Ex to Step in Before You Hire a Babysitter

Dad holding infant son
Photo © Inti St Clair/Getty Images

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.

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Ask Your Ex to Pet-Sit While You're Away

Woman being licked by a white dog
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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.

Don't Miss: 8 Tips for Sharing Custody of the Family Pet

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Invite Your Ex to One or Two Holiday Celebrations Per Year

Mom and daughter on Christmas morning
Photo © Hero Images/Getty Images

Shared holidays are the ultimate "evidence indicators" of a positive co-parenting 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.

Bonus coparenting tip: Try keeping a journal of your progress. Over time, you'll be able to see the impact of any changes you're making—and that, in and of itself, can be motivation to keep going.