The summer days are coming to a rapid end with kids going back to school in the coming weeks. Every parent feels the transition to school days approaching, but individuals who are co-parenting with a former spouse have added challenges to face come August and September.
What can you do to ease back into the school year without disrupting the dynamics between children and parents? Every family handles it differently, but here are a few tips to keep in mind as you consider the best plan of action for your situation.
Synchronize schedules from the start
Co-parents don't have to deal with the hassle and confusion about who is responsible for which aspects of a kid's schedule. Drop-off and pick-up duties may shift depending on work and other responsibilities, but it's generally helpful to maintain a consistent rhythm between co-parents. Avoid having your child stand outside the school wondering which car to look for.
Use shared resources
The digital age has made nearly every type of communication easier than ever before. That includes communication between co-parents. Not only are social media sites and apps available for the general public, but some are even specially designed for managing a family system through shared calendars, group messaging, expense trackers and more.
Sites and apps such as Our Family Wizard, 2Houses and Coparently provide a consolidated service to keep every aspect of co-parenting in one place. For those looking for low or no cost choices, consider a shared Google Calendar or even your phone's calendar service to keep everything synced across devices.
Present a united front
Parenting kids as they go back to school is no easy task to take on alone. If you have partner - current or former - who can help, utilize that advantage. Work as a team and try to avoid the appearance of differing sides.
This goes for inside and outside the schoolhouse gates. If a child needs help in a subject area, make sure both parents focus on that during homework time. Try to attend school events either together or at least in a cooperative way. You may choose not to sit together at a school play or game, but going to conferences and award ceremonies together can show a dedication to your child's academic success.
Drop outside drama
It' an unfortunate reality that some co-parents still deal with drama from a former relationship while trying to prioritize their children's care. As much as it may seem difficult, putting aside other tensions is what is best for ensuring your children's wellbeing.
Co-parenting doesn't stop at the custody arrangement stage. Once a divorce is final, life still moves on; so should your family. If necessary, limit conversations between you and your former spouse to only matters concerning the kids. Come to a mutual agreement to separate personal tensions from the importance of maintaining structure and stability for the entire family.