Co-parenting can be easier with these 5 tips for a successful new school year. August is here; school is starting… NOW WHAT?
Co-PARENTING DURING THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
Whether you are newly Divorced or a few years removed, it seems every school year raises new issues with parenting plans.
The first step for successful co-parenting for back to school is reviewing the school calendar with your parenting plan.
Before school starts, sit down -hopefully, face to face and with the kids (depending on age) to look at the school year. When are the 3-day weekends, when will holiday exchanges be, what extracurricular activities are the kids doing and who needs to take what kid where?
Get the kids excited about school. Show them you are dependable and FOLLOW THROUGH.
Consider apps such as Talking Parents or Google Docs to be able to share the kid’s calendars and schedules between parents and kids.
Realize in August that the school already planned your entire year!!! Ensure each parent has a login to school calendars, events, grades, and attendance. Each parent must participate in holding kids accountable, ESPECIALLY in two households!!
MEET THE TEACHERS & STAFF
The second and very important tip for successful co-parenting during the school year is taking the time to meet your child’s teachers and staff.
Appreciate that your child is 1 of 20-30 kids in her class. By seeing a face, understanding where your child is when and knowing what your parenting plan and expectations are, your child will have a much better year. Set your kid up to succeed!
Ensure you know how to log in to the child’s school portal or online information.
Make sure your child’s teachers know how to contact you both, or as orders specify, and the best way to communicate with you. Understand the homework and project expectations clearly. Most importantly, take responsibility for your role in parenting your child during the school year.
Whether Christmas or Spring Break, the third tip for successful co-parenting for back to school is planning your school year vacations at the beginning of the school year.
Some parenting plans are particular about who has what school breaks and holidays. Others are TERRIBLE – no pickup drop times, not date specific, sometimes not even mentioned – yet in the emotions of the holidays, some make a special time a nightmare for the kids. Don’t be that parent.
Especially if you take the time to review the school schedule in early August, figure out who the kids are with each holiday for the year, talk about if you pl. to travel or not, consider the kids’ concerts, parties, tournaments, and social events. #Communicationiskey
Vacation time is meant to be quality time, less stress, and a time to reconnect with family. YOU can make that happen by planning in advance!
REVIEW THE PARENTING PLAN
Co-parenting is easier when you review the current language of your parenting plan to see if changes are needed or at least make sure everyone is on the same page for the year.
So often, parents amend the court orders out of convenience or need without drafting, signing, and filing a Stipulation with the Court. If anything happens, the Court will rely on the existing orders.
August is a great time to review your current parenting plan, assess the child support needed to properly support the children, and see what changes you need to help your children.
WHO IS PICKING UP THE KIDS?
The fifth and final tip to successful co-parenting for the school year is to coordinate your personal and professional calendars with your children’s school and activity calendars. Regardless of whose day it is to parent, your children may need you both to participate in and enjoy their school year and activities.
I strongly suggest that the parent with the children should take the kids to the other parent if there is not a “meet in the middle” location. The other way usually seems to have the kids feeling the other parent is taking them away.
Kids these days engage in so many activities! Some parenting plans are super clear on what parent is responsible. Other parents take the activities as “bonus” time to be with the kids and are happy to coach, drive, carpool, or participate with the kids – regardless of who is parenting that day.
Do what is easiest! Who lives closer? Whose work schedule is more accommodating? Who does your kid want to be with for that specific event? Jack loves playing basketball with me but likes having his dad at football practice more. Anni would rather have her dad pick her up from school but prefers our girl lunches and show time together.
August is hard for everyone. Summer ends, school begins, and transition and stress is inevitable. I hope this blog is helpful for you and your family! Happy New Year!
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