Sending your children back to school as a divorced parent requires a bit more preparation than it typically would as a couple. Not only do you have to keep track of you and your children’s agenda, but you’ll have to be aware of your co-parents’ schedule as well.
Effective co-parenting involves a great deal of communication, setting expectations, and building a network of support for your child. These co-parenting tips for divorced parents will help you accomplish all of this as well as get you and your child on the path to success for the new school year.
1. Parenting Plan
Getting on the same page as your co-parent is the first step in assisting your child with having a great school year. That’s why we recommend putting together a detailed parenting plan from the start in an effort to alleviate obstacles in the future.
If you already have a custody arrangement plan in place, we recommend reviewing the existing procedure together and making any necessary adjustments. Some reasons for changes may be:
- The previously agreed drop-off/pick-up time doesn’t work anymore
- A parent is relocating
- A change in the children’s needs
- A change in financial circumstances
2. Set the Tone with a Good Attitude
A positive demeanor toward your co-parent can make a big difference in your child’s outlook on life, overall behavior, and academic performance. You don’t want to put extra pressure or stress on your children with arguments and outbursts. Stay optimistic and your child will reap the benefits.
3. Meet Your Child’s Teachers
Make sure your children’s teachers are aware that you and your co-parent have separated. If this significant life change isn’t mentioned to the teacher, they may not be able to offer the support and guidance necessary to help your child succeed. In fact, studies have reported that children whose parents have divorced are much more likely to repeat a grade in school. Don’t leave your child’s instructors out of the loop. Get them onboard to include an additional support person for your child.
4. Set Guidelines with your Co-Parent
These guidelines go beyond the parenting plan and they can go a long way in helping your child live a normal life with consistent rules. While we understand that you may not come to an agreement on everything, it can be beneficial to set a foundation of standards. Some guidelines that you may want to set expectations on are:
- Bed times or curfew
- Homework schedule and goals
- Cold lunch vs hot lunch expectations
- Buying school supplies
5. Attend Important Events Together
Showing support as a team can have a significant positive impact on your child. Not only will you prove to your young one that both of his or her parents support him or her, but you’ll also be demonstrating how to manage relationships like an adult.
It’s important to mention that you don’t have to attend every single event together, but for the monumental life moments that will be remembered for years to come, it’s important that your child has support from both parents. Some important events could include:
- The first day of school
- Parent-teacher conferences
- School plays/choirs
- Sports events/big games
Additionally, always try to have a least one parent at every event. To help with scheduling, we recommend creating an online calendar that everyone has access to.