Back to school time is stressful for parents and kids alike. When you’re divorced, that stress might seem to be amplified by ten.
But no matter your situation with your ex-spouse, it’s not only possible to deal with the back to school stresses, but paramount to your child’s success that you both work together to make the transition smooth.
Here are our top tips for divorced parents on handling back to school:
1. Spilt The Cost Of School Supplies
Sharing the cost and responsibility of getting school supplies and clothes will help alleviate some of back to school shopping stress.
Plus, it gives you both the opportunity to be involved with your child – like being there to ask him or her which backpack or lunch box he or she likes best.
2. Inform The Teachers
You don’t have to go into the details of your divorce with your child’s teacher, but you’ll want to inform him or her of your child’s home situation.
Doing so not only takes the confusion out of who’s who (such as when you and/or your ex-spouse are remarried), but it also helps establish parent-teacher communication, which is vital to your child’s success in school.
Researchers found that when parents establish parent-teacher relationships, the child will exhibit higher levels of emotional, social, and behavioral adjustment and increased achievement motivation.
3. Prepare Your Kids, Together
Help your child by working together on back to school preparation.
For example, establish an earlier bedtime in the couple weeks before the first day. Communicate with your child about his or her feelings and attitudes about going back to school.
Your child need to know that both of you are there to help him or her get back into the school groove.
4. If Possible, Drop Your Kids Off Together On The First Day
The first day of school a big day for your child – full of excitement and anxiety.
Having the two of you there will probably mean a lot to your child. And if one of you just can’t make it, text your ex a picture. That small act of generosity can help keep the new family dynamic on good terms.
5. Keep A Shared Online Calendar
Extracurricular activities, homework, time with friends, school events – there are a lot of things to suddenly keep track of when your child goes back to school.
Having a shared online calendar will help keep you all informed on events without having to directly communicate with your ex-spouse daily.
6. Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences Together
This tip coincides with establishing parent-teacher relationships.
You’ll want to be involved with your child’s progress in school, and that means doing so along with your ex. Being on the same page will help the way you approach your child with his or her academics.
7. Maintain Consistent House Rules & Routines
It’s crucial to maintain consistency and structure between both households for the sake of your child. Lack of routine only confuses a child, which can lead to feelings of frustration and anger.
Keep to the same bedtime, wake-up time, mealtime and homework time and everyone will benefit.
8. Communicate Consistently About Your Child’s Progress In School
Everyone’s situation is different. Maybe you and your ex-spouse are friendly and talk frequently, or maybe you never want to see him or her again. Whatever the case, you still need to communicate about one thing: your child.
It might be a good idea to set a day or two each week that you email each other about your child’s week in school.
Keeping each other informed about your child is vital to the wellbeing of his or her upbringing.