Co-Parenting during the COVID-19 Lockdown in South Africa

There has been much uncertainty about shared contact of children during the upcoming COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

With some parents intent on following the court orders which are in place and the agreement within their existing parenting plans, we need to be cognisant that with the directive of the president, this may be superseded.

The best approach to a challenging situation is to appeal to common sense and the need to protect the vulnerable (your children). The fact is, with moving between homes, they are placed at risk where that risk would not be present would parents agree to have children remain at one residence. There is also no guarantee that a home may not have had the virus brought into it prior to the lockdown (remember you could have contracted the virus and not be showing symptoms yet).

While lockdown is in progress, opportunities to have contact with the other parent are vital. Face time, WhatsApp video calls, Skype, Zoom, etc can be utilised to ensure that the child can “see” a parent as well as the parent “see” them. With little ones this can be challenging as their attention spans are not very long, so perhaps have 2 calls a day? With older children, there are online games that can also be brought into the contact time in order to spend more time “together”. Once the lockdown is over, parents can make up time with increased contact to even out fair access.

As parents, you have parental rights, but you also have parental responsibilities. It is your responsibility to act in the best interest of your children. Keep them safe, keep them in contact with the other parent and family members, maintain as much as possible social interactions through engaging with friends, etc. We all need to work together to try and “flatten the curve”.

For further guidance, read this post by FAMSA: https://www.facebook.com/FamsaBfn/posts/1318574085020247?hc_location=ufi