Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents
It’s that time of the year where parents load social media with pictures, strip shelves of school supplies, and send their young ones back to school. While back to school time is relatively stressful for any parent, it can be extremely stressful for divorced parents. To make heading back to school less overwhelming for the kiddos and the parents, use the following back to school tips for divorced parents.
The Cost of Going Back to School
When you consider the price of school uniforms, backpacks, and the big box of crayons, it can be overwhelming. One great way to reduce the burden of going back to school for divorced parents is to split the responsibilities. To truly make it fair, one parent can simply purchase everything and keep the receipt. Then, split the purchase down the middle.
Meet and Greet Teachers
It’s always a great idea to meet your child’s new teacher. During this meeting, inform the teacher your child comes from a shared custody or a divorced home. With this information, the teacher will be better prepared to understand if your child acts out. In reality, you and the teacher share a sort of co-parent relationship because they have your child throughout the day. As a result, it’s vital to keep the lines of communication open and keep each other in the loop.
Provide Contact Information for Both Parents
It’s important for the school to have the contact information for both parents, including contact numbers and addresses. However, you shouldn’t rely on your ex to communicate with your child’s teacher for you. If your ex is still angry with you, you can rest assured they will not do it, which may make you angry. The best decision is to take ownership and provide your contact information to your child’s teachers. Ask your child’s teachers to include both of you on progress reports and all other communications, so both parents can be in the loop.
Who’s Who in the Family
Following the divorce, it’s highly likely your family tree became more complicated, especially if you or your ex remarried. In the beginning of the school year, it’s best to get your child’s teachers up to date on who is who in the family. This will reduce the confusion when your child’s step mother picks them up from school or when the child talks about a stepparent. Even if your child is old enough to explain, it can make it significantly easier and more comfortable for them if the teacher already understands the blended family situation. Another benefit of explaining your child’s situation to the teacher is that most teachers will send home an additional set of textbooks, so the child will not have to haul them back and forth between homes.
Sharing Information is Caring
One great way to increase communication between divorced parents is to create a shared Google calendar, which ensures both parents have access to information about the child. On the calendar, you can share the kids’ upcoming events, so there are no excuses to either parent missing a holiday performance or a back-to-school night. If there is a really important upcoming event, simply send your ex a reminder as soon as you enter it on the calendar. As a result of using Google calendar, you can avoid those awkward conversations by phone. You can also check out this list of apps for divorced parents to make communicating easier.
Drop the Kids off Together
Hopefully, you and your ex can put your differences aside for a few hours to drop the kids off together the first day of school. It’s important to do this because the first day of school can be a daunting task for even the most confident child. It can go great lengths for the child if you and your ex can come together for this common cause. This doesn’t mean you have to ride together. Instead, you can meet at the school or a predetermined location to present a united front for the child.
Provide a Safe Place for the Child to Vent
According to Blackstone-Ford, the author of the book “Ex-Etiquette for Parents”, it’s best to find a safe place for the child to effectively vent and share their emotions. This could be a Tallahassee divorce group for kids or even a private counseling session. In any case, it’s important to make sure the child has a place they feel safe to vent their worries or concerns with an adult who can help them move through their concerns with constructive suggestions.
Although sending your child back to school can appear to be an overwhelming task as a single parent, it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to use all of your resources and the previously mentioned back to school tips for divorced parents to ensure your child has a happy, healthy, and productive school year. Most importantly, it’s vital your child has a happy and safe household.