School is starting soon and this can be a difficult time for co-parents. Here are a few tips to ease the transition for the children.
Start planning early.
As soon as school, sports, and extracurricular schedules are released, share them with the other parent or caregiver so that appropriate scheduling can commence. It may be easier if parents share a calendar so that everyone is on the same page. Please note the calendar only works if the parents update it regularly and automatic notifications can be received by the other parent. This allows appropriate time to notify employers or move appointments to accommodate the children’s schedules. Check out Cozi or other calendars to share with your co-parent.
Attend school events.
If your schedule allows, both parents should attend the children’s school, sports, and extracurricular events. Attend together and show a united front, even if you don’t like each other, you can manage to sit through an event for a short period of time. When tensions are high, consider sitting apart, but try to sit together if possible. Another option would be to alternate events so that at least one parent at a time is at an event. This is helpful if work schedules are challenging, your children will be happy to have at least one parent at their event. You can color code the shared calendar to indicate which parent will attend. If both parents are unable to attend due to a schedule conflict, invite grandparents or extended family to stand in.
Often the parent that is with the child after school will receive information that is sent home that day. Be sure to share this information with the other parent as soon as possible. It is easy to add both parents to the school communications email. If a note or paperwork is sent home, simply take a photo on your phone and email or text it to the other parent. If a response is required right away, be sure to notify the other parent so that they can make it a priority.
Inform the school and teachers.
Don’t assume that the school staff and teachers are aware of your co-parenting arrangement. Be sure to notify each of your children’s teachers before school starts so that they can be a part of the support system. If the teacher is aware, they can better address behavioral issues that may arise due to the family dynamic. Please avoid disparaging the other parent in front of teachers and staff. This will only make you look like a bad parent.
Fees and costs.
If you have an arrangement to take care of school fees, school clothes, and supplies, be sure to uphold your part of the agreement. If not, check in with each other to be sure the costs are shared appropriately. Keep records of spending and keep each other in the loop about major upcoming fees that might become a burden for one parent or the other. This is another situation where being on top of things is helpful.
If conflict arises.
If a co-parenting conflict arises, mediation can help resolve the issue. In most cases, a brief mediation session will resolve the issues right away without going to court. Keeping your family out of court will save your family time and money. If the school year does not go as smoothly as you like, do not be tempted to retaliate or punish the other parent, your children will suffer and blame you in the long run.
Co-parenting mediation is easy, affordable, and efficient. If you would like more information, schedule here: Clement Mediation.