The effects of COVID-19 in Jersey have meant unrest and upheaval for a lot of families. This can be particularly complex for families with separated parents. Here, Parslows provides some tips to separated parents making child arrangements in Jersey at this time.
First and foremost, it’s important your children are aware of COVID-19. Parenting Support Services have put together some useful resources for talking to your children about COVID-19. This will help them understand the reason for this disruption to their normal routine, the seriousness of the pandemic and the importance of working together as a family during this time, despite not living in the same home.
Establish any changes to your usual arrangements
With ever-changing measures, you may have changed your arrangements in response to COVID-19 several times. And while Jersey is not currently in a full lockdown, there may be personal circumstances that affect your arrangements. Continue to have open and honest discussions with your ex-partner about any effects on your current employment due to recent measures. As with co-parenting at any other time, you must be mindful of one another’s work commitments and reach a conclusion that accommodates both of your availability.
Separated parents making school arrangements
Any communication that comes from your child’s school should be distributed between both parents so both are fully informed of the latest updates. You can find more general information about changes to COVID-19 safety frameworks in education from the Department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills. More specific information about COVID-19 testing for students will come directly from your child’s school, so make sure you are both aware of the latest measures relevant to your child.
Communication is key for separated parents
As ever, separated parents should make sure they both communicate effectively to confirm dates and times for all handovers. Due to the guidance on social distancing — unless there are serious reasons as to why you cannot facilitate handovers directly with your ex-partner (e.g. due to domestic abuse) — then do keep handovers between yourselves and avoid using third parties, particularly grandparents if they are considered vulnerable or over 65 years old. It’s also important that the children are made aware of any changes to routine.
If your child(ren) has any health issues such as asthma, ensure that all necessary medicines are available in both households and that you each have an adequate amount of their belongings, clothing and other essential items at your respective homes.
Maintain contact with family during social distancing
The latest ‘Rule of 10’ does allow your children to see more family members, but there may still be wider family that they are not seeing as frequently, especially vulnerable people. Make use of apps like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom during this time not just for your ex-partner when your children are with you but also for extended family members that they will no doubt be missing during this time.
How self-isolation affects child arrangements
If you or your ex-partner are experiencing symptoms and you have been advised to self-isolate, it would be prudent that you call the helpline (01534 445566) to discuss your situation and ask for guidance.
It may well be that you are advised to self-isolate and it would be best if the children are to remain with your ex-partner during this period. It is therefore important to plan in advance and have the above discussions with your ex-partner now, should you be faced with the more serious issue of self-isolation in the future. If you have a contingency plan in place it will make this process smoother should the need for one of your to self-isolate arise.