Coparenting your children after a divorce isn’t easy. It requires ongoing coordination and communication with someone you have decided to no longer be around on a day-to-day basis. In some cases, this is a person you are constantly fighting with.
However, no matter how you feel about your ex-spouse and your child’s other parent, you must focus on making co-parenting successful to ensure your children’s wellbeing. Regardless of how contentious your divorce was, it’s virtually guaranteed that it affected your kids just as hard (sometimes harder).
When the summer ends, it means it is time to make a transition and plan for the school year. Unfortunately, this is often difficult for the kids and their parents. Because of the challenges you are bound to face, you must put your differences aside and form a united front to ensure your kids can get back into the school rhythm successfully.
While it may be challenging, there are a few tips to help you along the way. Keep reading to find out what these tips are.
Avoid Playing Games
While it’s unfortunate, the truth is that many custodial parents resent their former spouses after the divorce. They may use the fact that they have primary custody of their children as leverage to control the non-custodial parent.
Unfortunately, this is something that will only hurt the children.
Remember, your children still love both their parents. If you play games and exclude a parent from the back-to-school process, you will wind up confusing your children and making things worse. Both parents need to stay actively involved in their children’s education to keep problems from occurring.
Create a School Year Placement Schedule
If you have a different schedule during the school year than what you followed during the summer, be sure you create a “school year placement schedule” and a “summer placement schedule” and that it is included in your legal paperwork. When you create these schedules, it means that both parents will know when it is time to move from one schedule to the next.
When creating a school year plan, it’s a good idea to note that it will apply from one week before school starts to one week after school ends.
Coordinate Your Plans Ahead of Time
You and your child’s other parent need to be on the same page regarding purchasing school supplies, how information is exchanged during the year, and how the parent-teacher conferences will work.
Also, routines should be established for things such as emergency scenarios, inclement weather, extracurricular activities, and pick-ups and drop-offs.
Try to create a plan ahead of time and stick to it during the year to help reduce conflicts in the future. The more contingencies you prepare for in advance, the fewer confrontations and arguments you will experience throughout the year.
Create Studying and Homework Strategies
This tip depends on how old your children are and how they perform in school. Be sure to talk about how you are going to keep up with assignments, studying, and homework in both parents’ households. It is beneficial if you and your children’s other parents can get on the same page with these things.
There are many situations when parents divorce that they “parent” differently. An example would be that one parent makes the child handle all homework right after school before playing games or going outside. However, in the other home, the rule may be that the child can play outside or do something else when they get home from school and can wait until after dinner to do homework.
It is always better for a child to have consistent rules that apply in both homes. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. If this is the case, ensure the same expectations or goals are present, such as completing homework before bed.
Meet Teachers Together
You need to ensure that both parents know the teachers and have a chance to explain the living arrangements and situation. Children often have difficulty dealing with the changes that come with divorce. This can cause emotional outbursts, behavioral problems, learning challenges, and more.
When you let the teacher know about this upfront, you can get ahead of issues before they occur instead of after they impact your child’s education.
Involvement in Extracurricular Activities
Be sure you talk with your child’s other parent to determine how involved your child will be in extracurricular or school-related activities before school starts. Some parents share custody of their children, which means you have the same rights to make legal decisions, including school-related ones.
Because of this, it’s important to make sure that both parents are on the same page when it comes to sports, clubs, and more. These types of commitments will require both parents’ time, so they must agree to the schedule.
When you work this out ahead of time, you can protect your children from potential conflict or from having to deal with disagreements where one parent turns out to be the “bad guy.”
Work with an Attorney if Needed
If you cannot work out a school schedule for your children, be sure to work with an attorney. Doing so will help ensure that you create a schedule that works for both parents and that accounts for all a child’s needs. While co-parenting can be challenging, by working out issues and creating schedules, you can prevent some of the issues that may occur.
Our team at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen S.C. is ready to talk with you. Contact us today for a free consultation.