Perhaps no other time of the year requires excellent co-parenting skills than back-to-school. New schedules, teachers, classrooms, and after school activities can be a challenge for anyone, but especially co-parents. Follow these tips for a smooth transition from summer to fall, and avoid making things harder on yourself than they need to be.
1. Split the Shopping
Back to school comes with a big, and often expensive, shopping list. From new uniforms/clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, school lunch accounts, and supplies – it can be overwhelming for one parent to take them on without help. I suggest you divide and conquer. Either split up the list: One parent takes Uniforms/Backpacks the other lunchboxes and supplies. Or if you have an even number of children, divide it by the child. Dad takes Child A and Mom takes Child B. Be sure to first refer to your parenting agreement which may delineate in greater details the split for these costs. Use an app the Our Family Wizard to track expenses, receipts and reimbursements if necessary. Work together as a team to get it done faster and with less stress!
2. Present a United Front
Whenever possible, attend “Meet the Teacher” and orientation events together with your children. Letting the teachers know that you two are on the same page and work together will put everyone at ease, and also set the tone for each one of you being responsible to stay involved in your children’s education. Set weekly chats or meetings to discuss your children and how they are progressing throughout the school year.
3. Don’t Hoard Artwork or Information
Share everything! There are many apps out there to make it easy to share screenshots of artwork, homework, and that A graded project. Every parent likes to see this, don’t keep it from one another. Screen shot field trip information and take turns participating in classroom activities. Don’t be greedy, be fair and alternate who gets to keep artwork as it is sent home. Don’t cut the other parent out of the process of participating in this special time in your children’s lives. Be sure to include each other on all contact forms and emergency cards.
4. Create a Shared Calendar
Most parenting apps offer this feature, as does Google Calendar etc. Use a shared calendar to keep track of school events, plays, fieldtrips, due dates for big projects, games, practices, etc… Keeping one another on the same page while eliminating the need for constant communication is the easiest way to stay on track for a positive co-parenting experience. Studies show that kids with both parents actively involved in their education and activities are far more successful.
If you are considering divorce or need assistance with a family law matter, reach out to our office for a free 30 minute consultation. As a divorced mom of 2 – I know first hand how trying co-parenting can be. I offer compassionate legal services for good people facing challenging times. Come find out why we say the Law Office of Christine Diorio, P.A. is “where justice has a heart!”