It’s that time of year again, and kids are transitioning from summer break to the school year.
If you’re a divorced parent or you’re in the middle of a divorce, this can be a stressful time.
Not just for you, but for the kids.
Hi, I’m Marie Drake of the Drake Law Firm and today I’m going to talk to you about some tips on this transition to the school year. Tip number one is to jointly plan your child’s school year and school activities, as well as the extracurricular activities. Try to be collaborative, it’ll show your child or your children that you’re prioritizing them, not your conflict or your relationship. It’s so important to put them first and you can just make sure that you’re both on all of the communication from the school, all of the communication from homeroom teachers, and make sure you’re checking the website and you’re getting the notifications you need to get, whether it’s from the sports team or from the school. But also, remember, when you get those notifications, talk to your ex-spouse or soon to be ex-spouse. Make sure and coordinate with them about rides and going to the games and showing up. It’s so important during this time and really during all time to show up for your kids.
Tip number two is make sure you know how to use the school’s portal to get in and see your child’s grades and see what the homeroom teacher is saying, and whether she or he needs an appointment with you and make sure you’re coordinating all of that with your ex-spouse or soon to be ex-spouse.
It’s so important to keep communicating, one of the things I encourage parents to do is consider a shared Google calendar, for example, or some sort of app where you can see the child’s schedule and then make your plans accordingly.
Tip number three is to make sure and establish consistent routines at each parent’s house for the child or children. I recommend discussing everything, including, like, nightly bathing and getting up at a certain time. And how soon before a sports game-a soccer game starts. Does a child have to be at the game? Also, we don’t want, for example, things to be strict at Mom’s house with a regular routine and at Dad’s house, 16-year-old Johnny gets to chain smoke pot in the basement and stay up until 3 a.m.
Now, at least not until he’s a little bit older and it’s actually legal for him to do so, perhaps, but we don’t condone that. What we condone is to have a regular routine and to help Johnny become a productive member of society and try to move out of Dad’s basement, by say, I don’t know, age 35? Tip number four is to ensure a seamless transition between households. What I often recommend is that there are sets of everything the child or children need at each house. That way, you know, little Susie isn’t like taking a wheelbarrow full of 30 stuffed animals between homes. It’s just easier for the child to simply have a backpack and have all of his or her extra clothing and toys and school supplies at each parent’s house. And then if for some reason, little Susie forgets something, I always tell people, the parent who’s dropping off the child, it’s their responsibility to ensure Susie has what she needs. So make sure and plan for that and don’t be in too much of a rush so that these transitions don’t create more anxiety for your child. Make them sort of fun and playful and maybe say, “Hey, Susie, you get to go see Daddy in a half hour!” or whatever you need to do.
But don’t add stress to an already potentially stressful situation for a child. The last tip
that I recommend to our clients going through a divorce or after a divorce is please encourage the other parent to participate in everything. Encourage co-parenting. It’s so important and it’ll show the children that you both care during this time and going forward. And you may save your child tens of thousands of dollars in therapy later if they don’t have to, say, go through what I did because my parents didn’t show up for my eighth-grade graduation.
They were a little angry with one another. And although I was valedictorian and gave a speech, nobody showed. But guess what? Just a few years later, 20, I feel great about what happened and I understand they were just doing the best they could. But don’t be those people and save your children. the money in therapy. I hope you’ve enjoyed these light and fluffy co-parenting tips to help you with the transition from summer break to school time. And if you have any questions about any of it, please give us a call here at the Drake Law Firm. We’re happy to help and we’re standing by.