Back to school tips for divorced parents, Co-Parenting style.
The start of the school year can present challenges for both parents and children. Managing schedules, activities, homework, and even expenses can be more difficult for divorced and blended families. One option to help relieve the stress of the new school year is to try harmonious co-parenting. Co-Parenting is not always easy, but it is possible. You may ease some of these obstacles through teamwork and communication.
Co-Parenting provides an opportunity for both parents to put their children first. If you can co-parent harmoniously, there are a wide range of positive benefits that you, your child and family can experience. By allowing your child to focus more on their academics and extracurricular activities, you provide them with two safe environments and the socio-emotional development that helps your child to flourish and succeed.
To help prepare for the hurdles ahead, try to follow the tips below to help you and your ex-spouse plan for an enjoyable and successful school year.
MAKE A PARENTING PLAN AND STICK TO IT
Create a parenting plan for the school year that both you and your ex-spouse can commit to. Reviewing the parenting plan every school year allows both parents to regroup, especially if your child is involved in extra-curricular activities.
BE PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE
After both parents are satisfied with the parenting plan, jointly decide how to handle potential situations that may occur throughout the school year. Consider the following:
- How will school information be given and received?
- Who will be the emergency contacts, if not both?
- Will you attend parent/ teacher conferences together?
- How will unexpected school expenses be covered?
By addressing these matters now, you can help prevent confusion and anger later down the road.
Create a set schedule that both parents can follow in regards to school-related issues, such as homework and bedtime. Together, construct a plan for how to deal with sick days or unexpected school closings. Your child’s education should not become an opportunity to establish who the better parent is. By keeping your child as the priority, there is a way to work together effectively.
Teamwork is all about asking for help when you need it. The school’s guidance counselor can be a great asset for both, parents and the child throughout the school year; should you notice a significant change in your child’s behavior or should child’s grades begin to decline. If further professional help is necessary, consider counseling for your child or family therapy.
SCHEDULE A TIME TO CATCH-UP
Set a time with the other parent to discuss your school-related concerns or child’s progress. Discuss upcoming school projects, homework, and school functions. A brief phone call may be all you need.
USE AVAILABLE RESOURCES
Communication mechanisms are essential to effective co-parenting. Consider a joint email account and calendar for school, extracurricular activities and other related messages, to make communication and staying informed easier for both parents.
There are several phone apps, calendars, and programs available to make keeping organized and streamlining communication as comfortable as possible. Consider trying some of the available co-parenting resources below.
REMEMBER WHAT IS IMPORTANT
Preparing your child for school while the family is intact is tough enough. Divorce usually makes things a bit more difficult. When both parents make the emotional and psychological well-being of the child their utmost concern and keep communication open with the other parent; co-parenting can be a productive and positive way to overcome the obstacles that the new school year brings.