Back-to-school season is a stressful time of year for both kids and parents alike, but it can be more complicated for divorced or separated parents. It is important that divorced or separated parents set aside their differences for the first day of school to make it a memorable and positive experience for your kids. Here are some back-to-school co-parenting tips to help get the school year off to a great start:
1. Coordinate ahead of time
It is important that both parents coordinate with one another as to what the custodial schedule will be throughout the school year. This will help you and your kids know what to expect and allow everyone to plan activities accordingly.
2. Split the costs of back-to-school supplies
The costs of back-to-school supplies and clothing can add up quickly. While some may argue that school supplies and clothes should be paid for with child support, it is helpful with both parents pitch-in to split these expenses.
3. Both parents there to see the kids off on their first day of school
In the best of situations, both parents would set aside their differences and be available to see their kids off to school on their first day. However, if parents are unable to do so, the parent with the kids should take a picture of kids’ first day and share it with the other parent.
4. Create a shared calendar
Kids’ schedules can quickly become complicated with the myriad of extracurricular activities, games, school events, doctors’ appointments, etc. Using a shared calendar can help both parents stay informed about the kids’ activities. There are lots of options for shared calendars – Google, Cozi, Coparently, Our Family Wizard, or App Close. For more information on these apps, please see our Technology and Co-Parenting Blog.
5. Keep the school informed
Make sure your children’s schools know about your family’s situation and that they have contact information for both parents. You should also let your children’s teachers know the best way to communicate with both of you about your child’s progress throughout the school year.
6. Ensure your child has what s/he needs at both homes
It can be hard on kids if they do not have what they need at both homes. This could be supplies to do their school projects, their homework, or even their daily medications. Parents need to coordinate with one another to ensure that your child has what s/he needs at both homes or have duplicates where appropriate.
7. Attend parent-teacher conferences together
When possible, it is best if both parents can attend parent-teacher conferences together. This allows parents to receive the same information from the teachers.
8. Decide how to handle school closings and emergencies
Throughout the school year there will be situations where your kids may be sick and have to leave school early. It is best for both parents to have a plan ahead of time, as to whose going to be responsible to leave work and pick-up your child in these situations. It is also important for you both to plan on which parent will be responsible for the kids on a day school may be closed for a professional day.
Hopefully these back-to-school co-parenting tips will help you and your kids have an awesome school year.
If you have questions about separation or divorce, contact Jacobson Family Law at 443-741-1147 or Schedule an Appointment.