Back to school, starting a new grade, meeting a new teacher, etc. is scary enough for any child, but when parents have recently been separated or divorced, this can escalate into a very stressful situation.
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to make this process easier on your children, who may have already spent the summer scuttling between your house and your ex’s. So here are five easy co-parenting tips to ensure that the start of the new school year goes over smoothly.
1. Communicate with your Ex
Your ex-husband or wife may be the last person you want to deal with right now, yet for the good of your children, it’s very important you get along. Communicate about important dates and the needs of your children before the start of the school year.
If possible, sit down with them and come up with a plan on how to move forward and create a schedule based on your child custody agreement. It’s best to talk directly to each other without involving the kids. If your relationship is at a point that you, as joint managing conservators cannot sit down and work it out amongst yourselves, get your custody lawyer involved.
2. Inform the Teachers Beforehand
Make sure you alert your children’s teachers of your divorce or new living situation, and update all the contact details provided to the school. This also ensures that teachers are aware of what’s happening in their student’s home, so that if your child needs some extra encouragement or support, they are able to provide it.
3. Share the Expenses
School supplies can be costly. To avoid placing too much of a burden on just one parent, it’s a good idea to divide up the cost of backpacks, lunch boxes, uniforms, and art supplies. Again, you will have to sit down and make sure that you thrash out the details well beforehand.
Just be sure to keep checking with your ex to avoid getting the same thing twice.
4. Show Up for Support
On the first day of school, if possible, make sure both of you are there to support and encourage your child, as this will help make this scary situation a little easier on them. If one parent is unable to make it, they should try to FaceTime or call before the big day to make their presence felt.
5. Meet the Teachers Together
It’s very important for both parents to stay in the loop and to show up as a team to signal to your kids as well as their teachers that you’re both fully invested in your children’s education. Both you and your ex should be do all that you can and make sure the kids are doing well in school.
6. Keep Education a Priority
Going through a divorce with kids can be taxing on everyone. When you have limited time to spend with your kids, it can be tempting to forget about homework and go do something fun with them instead. But remember, there is nothing more important than your children’s education, so don’t lose sight of that.
7. Do Your Part
Often the relationship between divorced parents is strained to say the least, often co-parenting isn’t a possibility. In the case of a difficult or tumultuous situation, concentrate on doing your part to make your child feel safe and secure. Controlling the other parent isn’t your responsibility, your responsible for your child, focus on that.
Remember, this may be new territory for you, but it is alien territory for your children. All of you are navigating it together for the first time, so go easy on yourself. Create a loving and supportive environment, and the rest will fall into place on its own.