Co-Parenting Calendars: Helping to keep your kids in the loop

Co-Parenting Calendars: Helping to keep your kids in the loop

Following parental separation, children of all ages need information and clarity on when exactly they will see each of their parents, when changeovers will happen and how pickups and drop-offs are to work. One way to help children understand what is happening in their world, to help them feel a sense of control and encourage them to participate and engage in their schedule is to have an actual calendar that they can touch and feel and that shows exactly when they will be staying where.

A calendar can not only be used as a visual reminder of information about where they will be sleeping but can help to manage expectations and offer reassurance about when they might next see someone important to them, who they love.

Having a visual colour or sticker-coded calendar/schedule displayed in a prominent place in your home, means your child can look at it by themselves or with an adult prompting them, at any point in time. It creates opportunities for children to make choices, make requests, comment on the schedule or ask questions. For older children, a calendar can also give them a visual reminder several days before an upcoming changeover, to help them keep track of things and get ready for the need to adapt. It can be particularly helpful for younger children, children who are neurodiverse or for older children that are very visual in terms of their memory, planning and organisational skills.

Involving your child in using a calendar has an added bonus of helping them develop organisation and time management skills.

There is a wide range and style of calendars out there to pick from. Pick a calendar style that your child likes or will respond positively to. You can pick up various themed paper or cardboard wall calendars at bookstores and newsagents in January each year on sale, which makes it very economical.

You can help your child to make their own custom personalised calendar via stores like Snapfish, VistaPrint Australia, Officeworks or even Canva. Kinship Books' calendar stickers are the perfect side kick, in terms of allocating a sticker/colour to each parent for easy distinction between their two homes.

There are also magnetic calendars that could be utilised with coloured magnets, or even white board calendars or planners that might be appropriate with different coloured white board markers assigned to each parent/home. Enlightened littles Inc is an American company that has a coparenting specific magnetic board, complete with mummy and daddy magnets! Closer to home, Second Scout has a magnetic timber system which has a set of coparenting timber tiles to help kids in shared care arrangements.

Depending on the age of your children and their cognitive capacity, you may also choose to print your schedule/calendar in different time frames. Older children may benefit from seeing their schedule in fortnightly or monthly intervals, while younger children may do better with simpler week to week schedule.

Whatever type of calendar you and your child select, the only real requirement is that the daily squares are large enough to write or place stickers in or hold magnets.


Sit with your child and encourage them to place stickers to mark the days they’ll be with you and choose some different stickers to highlight when they’ll be their other parent. Using pictures and colours (in addition to words) means that they will be able to easily see at a glance which parent and home they’ll be with at any given point in time.

As you and your child put the calendar together, use it as an opportunity to see if they have any questions about the upcoming week or month. Going through their schedule with them can also give them a better handle of what will be happening for them in the upcoming week(s), provide moments for you to reassure them, hopefully making them a tad more confident in moving back-and-forth between their parents.

Once the calendar is sufficiently decorated, hang it somewhere prominent so easily accessible for your child, like on the fridge or on a wall in their bedroom or study.


When your children asks you for the 100th time about when they will see their other parent, or how many sleeps they are with you before the next changeover, you can say, “Well today is Tuesday and you will see Mum again on Friday. Let’s check out your calendar to see how many nights that is” or for an older child you can prompt them to check out their calendar and come back to you with an answer.


To help make your child feel more comfortable and confident about changeovers and frequent transitions, talk to your children about their routine and make their shared care schedule a part of  everyday conversations. For example: “This is Wednesday, you have swimming lessons after preschool, Thursday is ballet and then you’ll be with Dad for the weekend.” Or “your soccer game is at 9.30am this Saturday and Mum will be in charge of getting you there and supplying half time oranges”.

Use simple terms that align with your child’s age and vocabulary. For example, “It’s three sleeps until you are back with me.” Or “it’s two more sleeps till you are with Dad”. Or “On Friday you will go to school and Dad will pick you up when school finishes at 3.10pm”.

The benefits of having visual cues to help young kids know where they will be sleeping, which parent will be taking care of them and when they will see Mum and Dad, are many. But not only can it help your kids but the grown ups too!

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