It’s not uncommon for emotions to be running high in the aftermath of divorce. After all, you and your ex likely didn’t separate because of your ability to get along. But while there may still be lingering resentments, it’s vital to set aside your past differences when you share children with your ex. Hostile or negative co-parenting can do long-term damage to a child’s emotional well-being.

When it comes to parenting across two households, establishing ground rules and expectations can help you and your ex navigate joint custody and keep things amicable for your kids. The right plan will also give your child the stability and structure they need to thrive.

Here are a few ways you can set your co-parenting plan up for success:

1. Establish parental responsibilities

To keep the peace in your co-parenting relationship, you and your ex should be on the same page about who is responsible for specific childcare roles. Does it make sense for only one parent to drive them to school or after-school activities, or will you both share these duties? Establishing these roles can take the guesswork and conflict out of scheduling.

2. Know the schedule

You’ll want to keep a consistent schedule for your kids after divorce to give them a sense of stability. You and your ex should be clear about when they will be switching households, where pickups and drop-offs will take place and what time you will meet. However, it’s also helpful to be flexible if one parent needs to alter the schedule now and again.

3. Follow similar routines

Kids tend to thrive better when they have consistency and routine. It’s crucial that you and your ex have similar schedules across your households to help your children adjust to their new lives. It would help if you also tried to agree on house rules and disciplinary actions so that your kids see you have a unified front when it comes to parenting.

Ultimately, the key to a smooth co-parenting experience is finding a plan that works for you and your family. By implementing these tips, you can make the adjustment easier for everyone involved.