Communication Is Important for Co-Parents Preparing for Back-to-School
While it may seem that summer just started, a quick look inside any big-box store is all the proof you need that back-to-school time is right around the corner. Shelves and displays are filled with notebooks, backpacks, and pencils, and school-appropriate styles dominate the clothing racks. As a parent, you are likely to be feeling a mix of emotions about sending your children back to school. On one hand, it is a little sad that summer will soon be over, but on the other hand, you could probably stand a little extra quiet time after being around your children more consistently. If you share co-parenting responsibilities with your former partner, however, back-to-school is a perfect time to re-evaluate your rules, boundaries, and other elements of your parenting arrangements.
Talk About the Upcoming Year
It is important for both parents to know what to expect for the new school year. If you are the parent with the majority of the parenting time, you probably have a good idea of what teachers your child will have, what time the bus comes, and similar details. For the sake of your children, be sure to share this information with the other parent. You may also need to confirm that the school is aware that each parent should be receiving important notices and paperwork. If you are the parent with less parenting time, you should also check with the school to make sure you are kept in the loop.
You and your child’s other parent will also need to discuss what types of activities your child might want to be a part of. If he or she wants to play a sport, join the band, or audition for the school play, you the parents must confirm schedules, as well as pick-up and drop-off details.
Review Your Household Rules
Your child, obviously, is a year older now compared to this time last year, which means that it might be time to review rules and expectations for each parents’ home. For example, bedtime might now be a little later, and your child might be able to decide when he or she will do homework.
Whatever you decide, it is important for the rules to be consistent in both homes—at least to the extent that it is possible. If homework is to be done before dinner at one parent’s house, it should be done before dinner at the other house as well. Evening and morning routines should be similar too so that the child can benefit from consistency.
Talk to Teachers
If this will be your first school year as a co-parent, be sure to communicate open and honestly with your child’s teachers. You do not need to share your personal story, but by letting the teachers know that you now have a two-home situation, they can help your child adjust and thrive. Most teachers have taught many children with divorced parents, and they are generally trained to handle such scenarios with kindness and professionalism.
Teachers who are kept in the loop can also help identify potential problems during the year before they become major issues. For example, if your child seems lethargic in school on days after spending the night at the other parent’s house, it may be a sign that he or she is not getting enough sleep. By the time the child gets back to your house that night, the warning signs may not be as obvious. If the teacher knows about the two-house arrangement, he or she may be able to let you know how your child is acting so you can address the possible problem.
Call Us for Help
During the back-to-school season, you may realize that there are issues in your parenting plan that need to be addressed. If this is the case for you and your family, contact a DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today.