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Handling Long-Distance Parenting: Tips for Noncustodial Parents

June 2024


Ed Shea


Handling Long-Distance Parenting

As a noncustodial parent living far from your kids, maintaining a close relationship can be difficult. However, prioritizing communication and maximizing your limited in-person time can help strengthen your bond despite the distance.

Keep in Touch Through All Channels

Mixing up your communication channels keeps kids engaged. Make staying in contact a priority in your long-distance parenting life by:

  • Scheduling regular video chat sessions for face-to-face conversations.
  • Frequently exchanging texts, photos, and emails to share both big and small moments.
  • Sending old-fashioned cards and letters to create mail excitement.

Make the Most of In-Person Visits

Though frequent digital connection helps, maximizing your precious in-person visits is hugely important as a long-distance parent.

  • Make attending key milestones like birthdays, holidays, and extracurricular events a priority whenever possible.
  • Aim for longer trips during summers and school vacations to allow for quality time together.
  • Reciprocate visits so the kids can stay with you and let them experience your home life themselves.

Bond Over Shared Activities

Enhance your everyday communication with fun shared activities you can enjoy from afar. These shared experiences give you things to bond over despite the distance.

  • Read books simultaneously and discuss over video chat.
  • Synchronize watching favorite TV shows together.
  • Play online games to connect through gameplay.
  • Do crafts or make art using the same supplies to create something collectively.

Provide Stability Through Consistency

Aim to align with the household rules and routines already established at your children’s primary residence. Respect the other parent's authority by supporting their rules.

  • When visiting, stick to existing naptimes, bedtimes, and chore schedules to maintain structure.
  • Save special outings and treats for designated custody times to help kids transition smoothly.

Strengthen Trust Through Accountability

Reliability is key for long-distance parents who are building relationships with their children. Proving yourself trustworthy over time provides comfort.

  • Keep your word when making commitments or promises to kids.
  • Show up when you say you will, whether for calls, visits, or extracurricular events.
  • When the unexpected interferes, communicate changes to manage expectations and reassure kids when apart.

Navigate Complex Custody Matters With the Help of Shea Law

Despite the difficulties, prioritizing communication and intentionally maximizing in-person time can preserve close parent-child bonds across long distances. If you need guidance regarding custody arrangements or your rights as a noncustodial parent, contact Shea Law. We are a firm in Kennewick, Washington specializing in family legal services. Schedule a consultation today.