The start of the school year is always a big adjustment – for kids and their parents alike. However, recently divorced parents may suddenly realize that there are a lot of details about the school year that they haven’t actually discussed with each other, and that can make the back-to-school season even more complicated.
In order to avoid confusion (and the potential for hostility), it’s best for co-parents to have a few heart-to-heart conversations about how certain school issues will be handled. Here are a few you may need to consider:
Are you both checking their projects and homework?
When you’re co-parenting, it’s easy for both parents to fall into the trap of thinking that the other parent has something handled – and homework and school projects can fall by the wayside, especially when the child switches households on the weekend. Consider setting up a messaging app that you and your co-parent (and your children, if they’re old enough) can use to coordinate any projects or reminders about homework.
Will you attend school events together?
You both need to stay informed about your children’s progress and struggles, and you should be there for any special events. As co-parents, it’s important to try to keep a united front for your children, so make it a habit to go to parent-teacher conferences together and attend band events, choir performances, academic award ceremonies and school plays even when something occurs on the “other parent’s time.” Again, an electronic calendar can help you keep each other informed and on track.
How are you going to handle snow days and emergencies?
Who will pick the kids up if they get sick at school? Who is best suited to either arrange for child care or work from home for the day if school is canceled due to cold or snow? Having a concrete plan in place can prevent confusion, eliminate a lot of frustration and keep your children safe and secure.
Sometimes the start of the school year makes co-parents realize that their parenting plans are missing a lot of details. If you find yourself in that situation, it may be worth discussing some revisions and seeking legal guidance to formalize them so that they’re enforceable moving forward.