Back to School
This time of year is always full of excitement for the kids, for divorced parents and step-parents, it can also bring with it the anxiety of certain conflict and the complexities of getting back into the school routines. Start the school year by sitting down with your child's teacher or school counselor before the school year starts to explain the family situation without your child present. Afterwards, plan the school year with your ex.
Here are our top Back to School tips for divorced parents,
which we hope will help with this transition in your family.
Planning the school year: Plan the year from September to June. Starting from holidays, school breaks, weekends, etc. Then you have a basic overview of where everyone will be and when. Less confusion leads to less misunderstanding which leads to more clarity. This leads to happier people. Things may change as the year progresses but at least everyone has a general understanding and agreement of how the year will play out from the start. Planning can be as easy as having a Google Calendar app on all your phone. So everyone can have the correct date at their fingertips.
School Paperwork: Unless there is a Court Order directing otherwise, make sure all school and daycare forms are completed showing both biological parent names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. It’s important to have these information updated each year in case there’s an emergency the school will know who to contact. If there are step-parents who are actively involved in the children’s lives be sure to also include their full names, relationship to the child, and their contact information. This will relief the child’s burden of trying to explain his or her “different” family situation is completely removed especially in an emergency or general school meeting.
Master the Backpack: Kids with two homes need a space that's uniquely "theirs," even if it's portable. Make sure you include their personal belongings this may include their favorite blanket, toys, tablets and snacks. As long as the child have their backpack pack they will reduce the chances of leaving their favorite stuff animal at their mom’s or dad’s house.
Get Involved In Homework: Helping them with their homework is a primary parental responsibility and a joy. It’s important to have open communication with both parent when it comes to their child’s grades. Parents should be checking the child’s school agenda daily so they can be up to date with their behavior at school and major school projects. It may be a good idea to buy duplicate used school books for your household so the child won’t use the excuse, “I left my book at dad’s house.”
Don't Use the child as a Messenger between parents: As this new school year starts it’s important to remember to never use your child as a messenger to inform your ex about school and extra-curricular activities. Communicate directly with your ex. Email is great for this because you have a written record. Before the school year starts sit down with your kids, they may be uncertain about how to explain their living situation to classmates. Tell them to keep it simple: "I live with my Mom some days and with my Dad the other days." At the end of the day your children need your confidence and encouragement as they embark on a new school year, no matter their age.