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Quick Parenting Plan Checklist 

Create a quick parenting plan to take the stress out of making important decisions.

Start thinking now about your children’s future care with this parenting plan checklist.

Jot a few quick notes beside each item. Add others you can think of. It’s the first step to a new life for you and your children.

Top Six Tips

  1. Use plain language
  2. Put it in writing
  3. Act in your children’s best interests
  4. Set clear expectations
  5. Update as needed
  6. Cooperate for your children’s sake

Check It Off

Check off your list in five or so minutes. You can come back to each item in more depth later.

1. Who makes decisions (you, both of you) about:

  • Safety / supervision – helmets, car seats, substance use, being home alone
  • Discipline – bedtime, homework, communication  
  • Lifestyle – allowances, dating, working, tattoos / piercings
  • Electronics – TV time, computers, social media, gaming, cell phones
  • Diet /nutrition
  • Religion
  • Hobbies
  • Gifts – who buys, gives
  • Photos – sharing, use
  • Blended families – meeting or living with new people
  • Solving parenting disagreements

2. Education

  • Proposed schools
  • Pre- and after-school care – location, who pays?
  • Transportation
  • Decisions about programs, tutors, special ed – who makes?
  • Languages
  • Parent-teacher conferences – who goes?
  • Sharing records
  • School events – cost, who goes?
  • School trips – permission, cost, who goes?
  • Absences – who decides, notice if taking out of school?

3. Living arrangements

  • Where you will live
  • Where your kids will live
  • On what days
  • Drop off / pick up times and places
  • Who does it – you, your partner, others?
  • Notice about moves – how, when, permissions?

4. Child care

  • Who arranges
  • How will you communicate – phone, e-mail, text, Skype
  • Illness, delays, special events – how, when to notify

5. Your child’s belongings

  • Who keeps
  • Where
  • Who buys – clothes, school uniforms and supplies, toys
  • Pets

6. Social time

  • How will it be spent?
  • Who arranges – sleepovers, time with friends, visits with relatives
  • Transportation
  • Who buys gifts – for friends, teachers

7. Vacation and stat holidays – where your child will stay, who arranges, notice

  • School breaks
  • Summer vacation
  • Teacher Pro-D days
  • Religious holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Mother’s and Father’s Day
  • Extended family
  • Weddings or funerals

8. Travel

  • Who approves, notice
  • Out of country
  • Who accompanies
  • Who pays
  • Passports / health insurance
  • Emergency contacts
  • Communication – phone, email, text, Skype

9. Health decisions – who makes, who pays, transportation, notice

  • Medical
  • Dental / orthodontic
  • Vaccinations
  • Emergency treatment
  • Glasses
  • Prescription drugs
  • Physio, counselling, other therapies
  • School absences
  • Medical insurance
  • Who keeps health cards
  • Sharing medical records

10. Special needs children

  • Who provides care
  • School, after-school and day care
  • Arranging testing / assessments
  • Transport to appointments
  • Transport to school or care
  • Assistive and medical devices
  • Who pays medical insurance
  • Out of pocket costs
  • Sharing diet and special care needs
  • Sharing medical records
  • Claiming tax credits
  • Unforseen events – illness, treatment decisions
  • Communication – when, how
  • Advocates for the child – doctor, specialist, counsellor?

What to Know

Making your plan legally binding allows a court to enforce it. Axess Law’s family lawyers can advise on including it in your Divorce Act or other court orders.

Involve your children if you can. Consider using our lawyers, mediation, arbitration or the courts if you and your partner can’t agree. Axess Law can assist if family violence, substance use or mental health are issues.

Get our lawyer’s advice before finalizing your plan.