Hooray, back to school is finally here! For parents, it’s a magical time where routine reappears, boredom complaints go silent and all-day snacking is no more! Your kids, on the other hand, likely aren’t quite as thrilled. And they may be a bit anxious about the co-parenting schedule changes the new school year brings, too. These back-to-school co-parenting tips can smooth the transition for everyone involved.
- Keep Everyone in the Know – Between school, extracurricular activities, homework and life, in general; it’s a hectic time. That makes it even more important to split responsibilities (both with time and money). Then formalize a plan together and communicate it with your child to reassure them it’s all covered. If they are older, make sure to give them the opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions as well.
- Communicate Regularly – As every parent knows, the minute you set the schedule, something will change or something new will come up. Don’t make it hard on each other (and your kids) by withholding information either intentionally or unintentionally. It may help to decide ahead of time how you want to communicate those changes – text, email or call.
- Do Some Things Together – Realistically, you may both want/need to meet with the teacher and/or attend your kids’ events. So, you’ll have to find a way to either put the animosity aside for the sake of the kids or at least agree to keep your distance from each other as much as possible.
- Synch Your Styles – Especially when it comes to younger kids. Of course, you both have different parenting styles, but during the school year, kids need consistency to function at their best so ideally you and your ex can agree, in general, on bedtime, screen time, homework rules and so on.
- Offer Support Anytime – Just because your kids are with the other parent, doesn’t mean they don’t still need you and vice versa. Maybe your ex is better at the math homework and you’re better with biology; regardless, your kids should be able to reach out when needed. And not just for homework stuff; when they’ve had a bad day or just want to hear your voice, too.
- Allow Time to Adjust – Again, the transition back to school can come with a lot of anxiety for kids aside from the home situation, with worries over classes, teachers and friends to name a few. So, both you and your ex should try your best to be patient with them, and each other, as you ease into this new co-parenting schedule.
All of this said we know that sometimes exes simply can’t come to a co-parenting agreement on their own. In those situations, mediation can help. In this process, you and your ex enlist a neutral third party to help you resolve your back-to-school co-parenting issues. Often, this is a welcome alternative to getting your lawyers involved and litigating the situation in court- as long as you are both willing to negotiate towards an amicable agreement.
If you’re struggling with back-to-school co-parenting planning, we’re here to help! Our experienced team offers fully virtual coaching and mediation services. Contact us today to learn more or for a free consultation.