Most families experience a schedule shift as summer turns to fall and kids head back to school. If you share custody of your children, September can be an especially challenging time as everyone adjusts to new routines, activities and responsibilities.
Try these tips to help your co-parenting relationship thrive during the busy back-to-school season.
Keep kids in the loop
Children of all ages thrive on a regular schedule. Sit down with your kids before the start of the school year to review everyone’s calendar for the coming months. Make sure they know who will take them to school and pick them up each day, as well as where they should expect to spend weekends and vacations.
Create a plan with your co-parent
Even if you still have negative feelings toward your former spouse, excluding him or her from activities like back-to-school night will only hurt your children. Provide clear communication back and forth about schedules, events, homework and extracurriculars. Try using a shared calendar system to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Have a shared routine
When kids spend some school nights with one parent and some with the other, it can be tough to set expectations about homework, screen time and other obligations. If your children have similar rules at both homes, they will benefit from much-needed consistency. Shared expectations should be simple and clear, like lights out at 10 p.m. or no screen time until after homework.
Inform key adults
The adults in your child’s life can help streamline the co-parenting process by providing two sets of information about events, projects, homework and sports schedules. Let teachers, school administrators and coaches know about your family situation so they have the correct contact information and communicate with both parents.
Although communicating with an ex-spouse is sometimes challenging, making strides to work together as parents is in the best interest of your children. If you and your spouse are in the process of divorce, consider creating a parenting plan that addresses the concerns above.