Teamwork makes the dream work. (But it’s also a constant work in progress and one that evolves frequently as your kids age and become more moody mature.) That’s why we rounded up a handful of the best secrets from parents who are dedicated to dividing and conquering.

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tag each other out
Twenty20

They Have a System Where They Tag Each Other Out

If mom pulled the night shift with a feverish toddler, that’s dad’s cue to take the lead come morning. The same rules apply for non-emergency situations—say, an afternoon at a birthday party where every kid is on a sugar high. Whoever covered the party gets tagged out for an hour or two upon return. (The point: It’s less about equality and more about tuning into each other’s needs.)

google calendar
Twenty20

They Also Have a Shared Google Calendar

Yes, a wall calendar covered in Post-Its is a good system for keeping track of things like soccer practice and science club. But successful co-parents know they need a digital log as well. How else would they be able to pivot plans on the fly or actually remember that they agreed to drive carpool to basketball practice three weeks ago?

mom and dad jobs
Twenty20

They Don’t Worry About Doing ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ Jobs

Laundry, cooking, playing catch: In sync couples don’t get bogged down in gender norms for who does what. Instead, each parent takes on whatever he or she is best at—or what simply needs to get done in the moment.

strengths co parenting
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They Know Each Other’s Strengths (and When to Relinquish Control)

Maybe you’re a whiz at the bedtime routine while your spouse is the only one who can get the baby to take a bottle. Just like tagging each other out, successful co-parents know when situations beg one person’s help instead of the other’s. And they don’t allow themselves to feel offended or left out.

no fighting co parenting
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They Know How to Take Conversations ‘Off-Line’

Not every kid-related squabble needs to be worked out in front of the kids. So, you don’t love how one of you handled your child’s in-store tantrum or the fact that your teenager missed curfew…again. Instead of fighting it out in the moment and in front of the kids, successful parents set aside a time (preferably when they feel much less reactionary) to resolve their tactics.

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