As the school year has just begun and you are attempting to settle your child in a back-to-school routine, often the difficulties of co-parenting are brought to light. You will need to plan for things like pick-ups, drop-offs, extracurriculars, and back to school events with your co-parent. Here a few tips to ease the stress of co-parenting and the school year.
- Use Technology to develop a Calendar for your Child and to Develop a Comfortable Routine
There are so many apps available for a task like this that can be shared with the other parent. Often in a Court Order, parents are ordered to use a parenting app, like Talking Parents, to discuss the child and calendar activities to keep the other parent informed. Even if you are not ordered to use a parenting app, creating a digital calendar that alerts the other parent of changes or entries is key as you enter the school year.
With one parent creating and managing the digital calendar, it allows you to enter and keep the other parent informed on things such as the child’s after school schedule, extracurricular activities, etc. Often only one copy of notices comes home in your child’s backpack and by keeping this calendar, dances, performances, and other school events can easily be added to the child’s calendar to notify the other parent.
By utilizing such an app, it allows both parents to be informed not only of your child’s extracurriculars but keeps everyone accountable for pick-ups and drop-offs.
By establishing a routine that your child is comfortable with, especially them knowing who will collect them after school or which house they will be going to, will ease their anxiety of a new place and a new schedule, especially if parents are recently divorced.
- Consider how to work together to alleviate your Child’s worries of a new school year
I have a new student this year as well. I am especially aware of the anxiety and stress little learners have on their first day of school. They are entering the unknown, filled with children who are potentially pros at first days. They can be intimidated with new surroundings, new adults caring for them, and the big world of the school playground and lunch areas.
Speaking with your child as a team will alleviate the stress of the unknown. You will be able to familiarize your child with what the day will look like for them at school and will also let them confident in which parent will be there to collect them after the day is over.
My son’s biggest fear when starting school was being left in an “unknown location”, as he stated. It really alleviated the worry when he was able to know whether dad or I would be there to pick him up after school and where we would meet him. Like all children, he thrives in a set plan, knowing the plan before dropping him off at school for the after school events, helps him remain calm and excited about the day.
Remember you divorced the other parent, the child did not, and it is very important for children to see that parents can still work together to make them feel safe and excited about this new world they are entering. Being calm and confident in the classroom and the school day will allow your child to thrive in this new environment as they take on their next obstacle of school.
- Financially Plan together for School Costs and Extracurriculars
Plan with your co-parent who will provide what school supplies and extracurriculars for the year. Back to school is always expensive whether it be school uniforms, school supplies, or sports they are involved in. This time of the year and extra costs are always a stressor for parents. Take the stress off yourself by including the other parent in these conversations prior to schooling starting or prior to the purchase. Make a clear plan of what each parent can add to the pool for school costs prior to the actual purchase. Discuss openly any sports your child wants to participate in and the costs of each activity, so that a financial plan can be made where each parent is held accountable for costs for a successful back to school year.
These costs are often argued that they are apart of monthly child support but getting a child ready for a new school year is often a significant amount. Whatever the resolution or outcome may be, make sure you are on the same page as the other parent, so your child is able to attend school with a new backpack and lunchbox and they are prepared for the first day.
- Take your Child to their first day of school together:
This may seem like a silly tip or even highly inconvenient, but by showing up together on the first day of school, it illustrates to your child the importance of effective communication between their parents and that you plan to work together and stand by your child in equal love and support.
Being able to overcome your differences, even if just momentarily, and put on a united front for your children, will usher them into the new school year both happy and healthy. If you are newly divorced, your child is more than likely still trying to become comfortable with probably two homes and the separation of their parents. It is important to their academic success to know that their parents are still working together despite their separation and will ease their minds in the classroom.