School is back in session. This time of year brings about many changes that both parents and children need to adjust to. New schedules, homework and extracurricular activities will keep everyone busy. On top of it all, families going through a divorce are dealing with other personal difficulties. Separating spouses need an effective co-parenting plan from the start.
There are a few key tips for ensuring children have a good experience moving forward, which includes:
- Practicing open communication: You and the other parent should keep each other informed. Oftentimes, one child will tell a parent something about what's happening at school, and not always tell the other. It's normal for gaps in communication to occur. However, it's the job of the parents to set aside differences and fill each other in on the child's activities and needs.
- Sharing a family calendar: In addition to openly communicating, calendars are a great way to stay organized. Children need support when it comes to homework and deadlines. They have a lot to keep track of by themselves. Bring a calendar along wherever you go and write down special dates, such as doctor appointments, project due dates and school photo days.
- Keeping consistent rules: This tip is a hard one to execute. Both parents most likely have their opinions on how things should be run, and divorce can amplify that. Regardless, consistency is extremely important for children, especially in school settings. Parents should agree on a set bedtime, and similarly limit electronic use and enforce rules on homework.
- Letting the school know: It's normal to desire privacy during the divorce process. However, it would be beneficial for your family if teachers were in the loop. Most school staff will respect your privacy, and can provide accommodations. For example, a teacher might agree to separate meetings if he or she knows your situation.
Overall, staying civil with your ex-spouse is in the best interests of the child. It's easier said than done, but both sides will reap the benefits. As a parent, you would do anything for your child. It's worth putting in the effort to ensure your loved ones are supported and happy.