Navigating the world of co-parenting can be challenging in even the best situations. When this parenting involves a child with special needs, you might find yourself facing unique challenges.

Children with special needs often require extra attention and assistance with daily tasks. While caring for a child with special needs can be challenging, a little extra coordination between parents can make all the difference. Here are five key tips for successfully co-parenting your child with special needs:

  1. Expand your parenting plan. You should include a special needs section in your parenting plan. This section could outline information about your child’s health, education and more. It could also include important contact information, such as your child’s physician.
  2. Remain flexible. Depending on your child’s needs, switching homes may require a lot of coordination and patience. Perhaps they have a lot of special equipment, or behave in ways that make the transition hard. It’s critical that you and your ex to work together and adapt in these situations.
  3. Consistency is key. Many children with special needs operate well with routines and schedules. You and your ex should discuss discipline, rewards, homework, bedtime and more, so that your child has similar expectations in both homes.
  4. Discuss caregivers. You should talk about who can look after your child if one parent has to step away. Perhaps you agree that the other parent will step in during these situations, or you both think that a certain grandparent, sibling or friend can do so.
  5. Coordinate decision-making. You and your ex should determine which decisions need to be discussed and which ones can be made without the other parent’s input. For example, you may decide that any decisions regarding your child’s health and schooling need to be made together.

Divorce is hard on its own, and figuring out the best way to co-parent can be extra challenging. By following these tips, you may be able to help your child adapt to this huge change – and show them that they’re your top priority.