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5 incredible co-parenting tips for divorced couples

Your divorce changed your life. When your spouse asked for the split, you didn't lament the loss of the marriage as much as the changes to your life with the children. You have two of them, still in grade school, and you love spending time with them. You worry that the divorce will alter that relationship.

It can, but it does not have to. Below are five helpful tips that can keep your relationship with the children strong, even when you no longer live together as a family full-time. By taking an active approach and focusing on what you can do to build up those relationships, rather than lamenting the changes, you can work to build a positive future.

1. Keep your focus on quality time

Many parents focus on the quantity of time they spend with the kids. They get hung up on wanting as many hours as they can cram into their schedules. While that is understandable, you must put the children's needs first. If the easier schedule gives you fewer hours than you want, just focus on making the ones you do get count. Spend quality time making memories and actively engaging with your kids, rather than more hours simply watching TV or taking a more passive approach.

2. Accept the new situation

Do not let this new situation get you down and impact you emotionally when you are with the children. You can't change it. Accept the new reality and focus on looking for ways to make the most of it.

3. Find new hobbies when the kids stay with your ex

Do not let yourself fall into discouragement just sitting around the empty house, wishing they were there. This only makes you feel like co-parenting is failing. Instead, find new hobbies. Maybe you have always wanted to run a marathon, for instance. It takes an incredible amount of training, and now you have time. Doing things for yourself means you'll be in a better mood when you see the kids, and you'll be able to spend every second with them.

4. Prepare for the beginning of new relationships

Your ex may eventually start seeing someone else. This person will be around your kids. Mentally prepare yourself in advance. Do not let this lead to fights and arguments, which expose the kids to a negative environment.

5. Work together with your ex for the children

Working together may not sound fun. This isn't the life you chose. However, it's necessary to make the transition smooth and easy for the kids. Cooperate with your ex regarding schedules, pick-ups, house rules, bedtimes and everything else. Remember that the two of you need to be parents first.

As you prepare for this new stage in your life, make sure you understand all of the steps you need to take to set up the ideal parenting plan.

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