When you’re divorced and have children, the start of a new school year often means greatly increased communication with your ex. Although you may not view the situation as ideal, it’s important to keep in mind the cardinal rule of parenthood: it’s not about you, it’s about the kids. Your children need a dedicated support team of adults who are on their side, helping them to learn, grow, and thrive. While transitioning back to school, it is important to establish a routine and sense of predictability for your kids, regardless of your relationship with your ex.
Homework, meals, and bedtimes are three areas that you and your ex should try to agree on to provide your kids with a stable routine. If the two of you can agree to similar guidelines at both homes, the kids will know what’s expected and will be less likely to try and negotiate their way out of situations. You may also want to start a shared calendar between both households to keep track of essential information, such as project due dates, days off, upcoming tests, and extracurricular activities. A shared calendar will help to guarantee that everyone is on the same page and ensure both parents are given the opportunity to actively participate in their children’s lives.
If possible, before the first day of school you may want to meet with your child’s teacher to familiarize them with your family situation and provide them with information, including drop-off and pickup schedules. By being forward with your child’s educator, you can help prevent situations down the road that may be difficult for your child, such as “My Family” projects. You can also use this time to discuss scheduling parent-teacher conferences and determine what options work best for you and your ex, especially if joint meetings with the two of you would be too uncomfortable.
To help alleviate back-to-school stress as a parent, remember to keep a positive attitude about the situation and remain encouraging to your children about the upcoming school year. The more you and your ex can co-parent and work together, the smoother the school year transition will be for all involved.
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Partner at John F. Schutz, P.L.
Representing clients exclusively in family law cases for the past 24 years, Mr. Schutz is widely regarded as a marital and family law expert. He is Board Certified in marital and family law by The Florida Bar. As a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), Mr. Schutz is committed to elevating the standards and improving the practice of family law.
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