Earlier this week, we began a discussion about the difficulties associated with back-to-school time when your family has recently experienced a divorce or child custody dispute. In today’s post, we’ll continue our list of back-to-school tips to make this transition easier for divorced families. As with other things in life, communication and cooperation are essential.
If both parents plan to play an active role in their child’s education, it is important to communicate early and often with teachers and school administrators. For instance, it may make things much easier to start the school year off with an email to your child’s teacher(s), explaining the divorce and custody agreement.
You don’t need to go into intimate detail about personal matters. Instead, just fill the teacher in on what he or she needs to know. Teachers are usually good about honoring requests to send paperwork home to two addresses and to include both parents on any important emails.
Communicating about the divorce can also prevent any snags with transportation and parent-teacher conferences. Schools should know if there are step-parents involved in a child’s life. If so, are these step-parents authorized to pick up the children from school?
Although you may not like spending time with your ex, it could be helpful to attend parent-teacher conferences together. If one of you can’t be there in person, you may be able to have one parent attend and have the other parent be on a conference call.
Finally, try to show your children that you and your co-parent are still a team when it comes to them. If possible, do the first day drop-off with your ex. And let your kids know that when it comes to homework and other important details, they will not have to relay information back and forth (which also means that the kids should not try lie about a bad grade or “forget” about an upcoming homework project).
Back-to-school time will probably not be easy, but it can be successful for the whole family. Hopefully, these tips and a little hard work will help you and your children feel ready for a successful school year to come.