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Top tips for co-parenting during the Coronavirus restrictions

Many parents are approaching National Family Mediation with questions about co-parenting during this difficult and fast changing time. We will continue to update our guidance as new information becomes available, but here are answers to some of our most common queries.

Your child can travel between your homes. The government has confirmed that children moving between their parent’s homes is permitted under the new restrictions (under part 3 providing care or help to a vulnerable person). The government website has been slow to update published guidance (found here) but the Children’s Commissioner has confirmed the amendment to the earlier guidance (which can be found here).

Social distancing recommendations should still be followed at handover. These include:
• Spending as little time as possible outside your home(s)
• Keeping at least 2 metres apart from each other during handover
• Keeping children away from elderly or vulnerable family members

Official guidance on social distancing can be found on the Gov.UK website here.

Coronavirus is unlikely to be transmitted on items that travel with your child. Hygiene recommendations such as washing your hands and cleaning hard surfaces regularly should still be followed. Official guidance from the NHS can be found here. Public Health England publish detailed information about cleaning (non-healthcare) here.

Keep information for children simple and factual. Children need age appropriate information about coronavirus and how it will affect their day to day life. Let them ask lots of questions, be honest but keep responses light and reassuring. Young Minds and Save the Children have both published ‘top tips for parents’ lists.

Look after yourself. It’s natural to feel anxious at the moment with so much uncertainty about the longer term impact of coronavirus. Children will take their cue from you, so the better you look after yourself, the more reassured they will be that everything will be OK. The NHS page about looking after yourself while staying at home is a good place to start for more information and links.

National Family Mediation is still open and offering family mediation

We have moved all of our appointments online, meaning you can still have a face to face meeting with an experienced family mediator. We can help where:
• existing arrangements have broken down
• you need to make new plans to meet the restrictions
• you need to discuss parenting issues such as school work, visiting other relatives and health concerns.

Did you know that legal aid is available to help with mediation costs?

If your income has dropped because of the impact of Coronavirus then check here to see if legal aid could help you too.

If you have any questions about using our service then please contact the office on 0300 4000 636, email mediation@nfm.org.uk. You can also book an appointment online.

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