Updated: Aug 17, 2019
What is a Communication Book anyway?
A Communication Book is a book that helps to get information between you and your co-parent in a way that will keep your child out of the middle, and save them from carrying messages between the two of you.
It doesn't have to be flashy - it's really just a notebook or an exercise book. It travels back and forth with your child (so think about A5, or a neat size to fit in a small bag), and it contains all the day-to-day information that you and your co-parent both need to be across.
A good one might have a few school excursion slips and birthday party invitations glued in, with handwritten notes about the toddler's toilet-training adventures, and a pocket in the front containing a receipt for Mr 7's new sneakers and a favourite hair clip!
Does this mean we don't have to talk to each other?
Hopefully it's not your only option - I'm certainly not suggesting that it should take the place of other forms of communication, especially if you can manage talking about some things. But maybe for you, communication with your co-parent by any other means just creates more conflict.
Some parents use a Communication Book for certain types of information, and agree that other circumstances warrant a phone call or a face-to-face conversation.
I will also add that in the 13-ish years since I started working with families, there have been amazing advances in the technology you can access to do this kind of work.
Communication Books were all the rage in 2007 😂but these days, if you're savvy, there's an app for that! You can share information, maintain an organised calendar (for keeping track of events, as well as which parent your children are spending time with, when), and even keep a record of all your text conversations.
What kinds of things should I use the Communication Book for?
Here are some examples of things that affect your children that you could potentially share using a Communication Book:
Information about health issues that have arisen for your child during their stay with you.
Medication prescribed or taken,
Upcoming medical appointments,
School excursions and notices,
Planning for special events, recitals, and family gatherings,
Messages from teachers,
Reminders about sports uniforms, or,
What to bring to school on a certain day.
The point is really to take the load off your child, so that they don't have to remember everything - especially while they are younger.
Remember to take note when there are positive things to share
Often, there are concerns and plans and decisions to write about, but make sure that you include GOOD information as well. This might look like:
"The teacher said Marcus did really well with his talk this morning - thanks for the preparation you did with him."
"The blood test went okay today. I'm glad we decided on Dr Spock."
What if my child reads the Communication Book?!
I always tell my clients: you should write as if your child will read it! I would even go so far as to say that you should think of it as a keepsake for them!
It might sound crazy, unthinkable, impossible now, but imagine in 10 years your child looks back at this book and thinks:
Look at how well my parents worked together for me, even though it was hard for them both! Look at the way they kept me out of the conflict and kept my needs at the centre! Look at this beautiful book I have to remember all the events they organised together for me, and all the lovely things they said about me ...
If you reminded yourself every time you sat down to write in your Communication Book, that those little eyes are going to read this, and that those little hearts are going to absorb whatever is on these pages ... you could definitely make it a piece of family history, and a means of minimising your parenting conflict.
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