Co-Parenting During the School Year
For this upcoming school year, my husband and I made the tough decision to transfer our children to a new school. In our own house, we are experiencing the stress and anxiety that this is causing our children, and we have made it our mission to stabilize every other area of our children’s lives to make this transition easier. This issue made me think about my clients who are experiencing similar transitions with their children, specifically those who are newly divorced or separated, and while I realize that my family’s reason for transferring our kids to a new school are different than most of my clients, the stressors on our children are similar.
Perhaps, as a result of your separation, your children are starting at a new school. Or maybe your children remain in the same school, but for the first time in their lives, only one parent is in the house, while they visit their other parent in a new home. How can you, as parents, make this an easier school year for them?
From my years as a family law attorney, I have found the following to work for my clients:
- Have a conversation with your kids. Let them ask questions about what this new school year will look like.
- Have a calendar that is visible to the children. Clearly indicate which house they are staying at on each day.
- Talk to your ex. Each house should have the same expectations when it comes to homework.
- Contact the school. Let the school know that your children are transitioning to a new schedule.
- Help your child prepare for the visit with the other parent. If the child is staying overnight, help them prepare an overnight bag. Have a plan for how the overnight bag will be “exchanged.” Many kids don’t want to lug an overnight bag to school, so make arrangements to get it to the other parent.
- If you are the parent who does not have the majority of the time, have a bedroom or an area that is just for the child. The child needs a place for homework and to relax.
These are simple solutions to make the school year, and the transition to either a new school or new home situation a little easier for your children. Divorce is hard. Transitions are hard but try to work to make it easier for your children.
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