Back-to-school season is always stressful for kids and parents. If this is the first new school year since your separation or divorce, there’s probably a lot more to coordinate — even if your child isn’t changing schools.
Many parents are concerned that their child’s academic performance will suffer because of the divorce. They’ve seen all kinds of statistics indicating that kids of divorce don’t have the same educational achievements as those whose parents are together. However, that doesn’t need to happen. If you and your co-parent have been committed to ensuring that your child gets good grades, you can maintain that commitment across both homes.
Kids benefit by having basically the same rules and expectations regardless of which home they’re in. This includes making homework a priority by:
- Designating certain hours of the afternoon, evening and weekends for homework
- Requiring homework to be done before any TV or other screen time
- Sharing homework and school project assignments with your co-parent when your child goes to their home
- Agreeing on disciplinary actions if grades fall below a certain level
This all takes some communication. If direct communication, even via text or email, is still problematic, you can use shared journals and other tools on a co-parenting app.
Keep other issues away from your child
You and your co-parent need to work out how school expenses will be divided. That includes everything from notebooks to uniforms to field trip costs to musical instruments and more. Plan for the year’s expenses as much as possible and create a budget. Don’t put your child in the middle of an argument over what you will or won’t pay for
Your child also shouldn’t have to worry about who will pick them up if they have band or soccer practice after school or who will take them to buy a Halloween costume or to get their vaccinations. Keep each other informed about your child’s schedule and work out these things on your own.
The more that you and your co-parent can remain a team when it comes to your child, the better they’re likely to do in all aspects of their life – both now and in the future. Having a detailed parenting plan that you can both commit to can go a long way toward achieving that goal.