Separated and Co-Parenting? There’s an App for That…
There are apps and websites available nowadays to help us streamline every aspect of our lives, and co-parenting might have just gotten a little bit easier with the help of its own. Our Family Wizard is an online service with an accompanying app for your smartphone or tablet, allowing parents to coordinate parenting schedules, keep accurate records, and communicate about their children.
Our Family Wizard allows couples to communicate without face-to-face contact, an obvious strength for those involved in high-conflict relationships. The service has a message board that tracks all communication, allowing each parent to see the time and date that a message was first viewed by the other. This service alone provides the much needed documentation to avid “he-said, she-said” situations and encourages parents to communicate clearly, positively, and in a timely manner.
The service offers much more than just messaging. Parents can customize a parenting schedule to indicate which parent is looking after the children when, accompanied by a journal feature to record important notes about events that occurred during the other parent’s supervision. Parents can also enter the children’s relevant information (medical, educational, clothing sizes, etc.) in an Info Bank to keep events like immunizations, appointments, and class schedules clear. Parents even have the ability to track child expenses and request reimbursements from one another. Users in the United States can actually send and receive payments directly through the website or app; hopefully that feature will be available to Canadian subscribers soon.
In appropriate cases, parents can assign accounts to their children as well, allowing them to view and contribute to the calendar and some other features. If families are working with professionals like mediators, counsellors or lawyers, these third parties may also optionally be given access to view family information.
What makes all of this work is cloud computing – each parent can see the changes made by the other (or by the child) upon logging into the app or website and is therefore kept up to date with the most relevant information.
Although the app is free to download, there are fees involved. Parents must first sign up for a yearly subscription to the service for $99 USD yearly, or $179 USD for two years.
The service also depends on buy-in from both parents. Co-parenting and effective communication is not a one-way street, and both parents need to embrace and contribute to the record-keeping. One parent does have the option to purchase the account for the other, but each parent’s full participation is needed for the system to work.
And of course, as with all technology, none of this is a true replacement for face-to-face communication. However, for families dealing with high levels of conflict or for busy families looking for help with documentation and organization, Our Family Wizard could be the answer to help establish and maintain positive co-parenting communication.