The lazy days of summer are coming to an end, and many families are preparing for a new school year. Getting back into the swing of school after summer break can be especially chaotic for families who have experienced a major change like a divorce or separation. Who will buy the backpacks? Who will pick up the kids after school? How will parent-teacher communication work? Every situation is different but there are some steps parents can take to help ease the transition from summer to the school year.
- Let your child’s teacher know about the family circumstances. If you and your ex have recently separated, you may be unsure how to make sure both parents stay in the loop regarding homework, projects, and special events. Letting the teacher know that your child splits his time between two households helps the teacher accommodate the situation. Make sure the school has both parents’ contact information. Also let the school know if any other adults like step-parents will be picking up the kids after school;
- Cooperate with your ex. After a separation, your ex is probably the last person you want to talk to or be around. However, if you share children you will have to communicate about transportation, school vacations, and purchasing school supplies. If there is a lot of tension between you and your ex-spouse, texting or email may be better than face-to-face conversations or phone calls;
- Be willing to split costs. Many divorced parents decide to split the costs of school supplies or fees. Decide who will buy what in advance so that your child will be prepared and ready to learn on the first day. Keep in mind that having duplicates of certain items is not a bad thing, especially if your child will be working on school projects and homework in two homes;
- Attend parent-teacher conferences and meetings together. Even though you and your ex are no longer together, you are still your child’s parents. Attending meetings together ensures that you are both on the same page about your child’s performance in school. Going together also sets an example of teamwork for your child; and
- Use a shared calendar to organize transportation. There are many apps and programs that parents can use to assign drop-off and pick-ups. Apple Calendar and Google Calendar both have a sharing function. Other family-planning apps include Cozi, Two Houses, and OurFamilyWizard are available for mobile devices.
An Attorney Can Provide Guidance
Your family’s transition from summer to school probably will not go perfectly—but that is understandable. Hopefully, with a little flexibility and teamwork you and your child will have a fun and successful school year....