Co-Parenting on Father's Day

A father is hugged and kissed from behind by his young daughter.

With school wrapping up and summer already in our grasp, Father’s Day is on the horizon.  To commemorate the day, families take a little extra time to show Dad how much he is loved and appreciated.  When parents are living in separate homes, trying to coordinate plans for Father’s Day can be a catalyst for conflict.  Father’s Day is meant to be a time for celebration, so take these tips into consideration as you finalize your plans for this year.

Stay clear and current

When discussing Father’s Day plans with your co-parent, be specific in your requests.  Let them know what you are thinking and feeling about plans for the day.  As with Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is a parent-specific holiday, so if schedules allow, children should spend the day with the fathers in their life (Dads, Grandpas, Uncles, etc).  If Dad’s parenting time already falls on Father’s Day, there won’t be much to coordinate in terms of custody; if custody time does not fall conveniently on this day, try to make it happen, if possible.  Be specific when communicating about tentative plans, and do not muddle the discussion among other issues or requests.  Father’s Day is more than just Dad’s holiday, as kids value having special time with Dad.

Give and take

Returning a favor is always a good way to build bridges and to show someone that their efforts are appreciated.  In co-parenting situations, reciprocating kind gestures made by your co-parent is effective in broadening lines of communication.  Let your co-parent know how you appreciate their role in the family by helping to synchronize Father’s Day with Dad’s parenting schedule.  If your co-parent offers to trade parenting time, you should return this gesture by perhaps agreeing to their next trade request.  If Dad lives out of state, or if parenting time simply could not be coordinated well for Father’s Day, make sure everyone is on board with choosing another day to celebrate and plan accordingly.  

Be an example

Father’s Day is a perfect time to set an example of healthy living for your kids.  Whether you are the parent being celebrated this day or not, do something for yourself, or treat yourself to something special this day.  Show your kids that one’s mental well-being is vital to one’s overall health.  For instance, as the celebrated parent, treat yourself to time playing outside or making dinner with your kids.  As the other parent, take this day to spend with friends, or enjoy that new movie you’ve been dying to see.  Either way, set a good example for your kids on healthy living and keep conflict out of the picture, at least for today.

Planning for Father’s Day is made easy for co-parents by using the features on the OurFamilyWizard Website.  The OurFamilyWizard Calendar allows parents to stay on top of how their schedule currently stands and offers tools to help parents make requests for trades in parenting time and scheduling for holidays or special family events.  As parents work off the same OurFamilyWizard Calendar, everyone will know what is on the books for this Father’s Day.  


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.