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The Co-parent’s Guide to a Successful School Year

September 06, 2022
Advice, Co-Parenting, Parenting Tips
Co-parent’s Guide to a Successful School Year

Discouraging statistics concerning kids of divorce may have you concerned about your child’s education–they receive worse grades in school and experience more behavior problems. But all hope isn’t lost, and you and your child don’t have to accept that fate.

Your deliberate involvement, mindful planning, and handy co-parenting apps is how you will set your child up for success–at the beginning of the school year or wherever you find yourselves.

Communicate to Stay Involved

The way to ensure your child succeeds in school is to stay involved in their lives and education. Children adapt better post-divorce and perform better in school when parents are involved and show genuine interest in their daily activities.

Make a point to reach out to your child’s teacher and introduce yourself. Volunteer at their school or donate some much-needed classroom items. Your involvement means so much to your child and their teacher, too.

In addition, make it your responsibility to keep the co-parent in the loop on school happenings, assignments, and activity sign-ups. At the very least, you won’t be responsible for a communication breakdown, and at the most, you’ll develop healthy, two-way communication.

Co-parenting apps make regular, respectful communication and child support requests easy. Check out joint custody and child support apps, like DComply and Famcal, to easily and quickly request funds for school expenses and share school and after-school activity schedules.

If your child’s school only allows one email address for all communications, consider setting up a separate, shared email account with your co-parent so that you both get the same access to those emails. Plus, you’ll lessen the amount of information you have to pass along.

Create Your Parenting Plan

If you don’t already have a parenting plan in place with your co-parent, do your research. Consult professionals, like a family counselor or mediator. Ask for advice from friends and family who have been through a divorce about what arrangements worked or didn’t work for them.

Include a plan for school-related issues like homework time and college applications (i.e., Do they start assignments immediately when they get home or after a 30-minute break for a snack and some T.V.? How will school projects be handled? Is it okay for your child to apply to out-of-state colleges?)

If your parenting plan is already in place, keep it close by so you can refer back to it to help you make school-related decisions, like whose address will be used for school registration, who pays for school lunches and extracurricular activities, and who’s responsible for everyday decisions.

Notify the School of the Situation

Leave out the dirty details of your divorce, but do clue your child’s teacher and the school’s front office in on any special custody or transportation arrangements from your parenting plan or custody orders.

Your child’s teacher can gain valuable insight and provide needed empathy if they know that your child regularly travels back and forth between two homes and has to tote homework materials around, too.

Prioritize Peace

Aim to put hurt feelings aside and strive for peace in your relationship with your co-parent. Parental battles can add to a child’s stress, resulting in poorer grades and behavior problems. To lessen the stress, avoid yelling at your co-parent or bad-mouthing them in front of your child, at parent-teacher conferences, or your child’s extracurricular events.

Understand that most co-parent relationships get better over time. Using your co-parenting apps to keep your communication frequent, respectful, and child-centered, you and your ex can achieve harmonious parenting more easily and quickly.

Familiarize Yourself With the School Website

Most schools have well-designed and constantly updated websites that you can use to stay informed about school events. It can be your go-to guide should your child or co-parent forget to pass along pertinent information.

Stay Flexible

Your parenting plan is an excellent handbook, especially at the beginning of your divorce. However, as your child ages, it’s likely that some things within the plan will need to change, too, to keep up with them. Being a stickler for a plan made years ago when your kid had different needs and desires, or you or your ex had different addresses, can lead to unnecessary conflict. So, be flexible and open to changes.

You can’t manage everything, even in the best of circumstances, so loosen the reins on trying to control what your child or co-parent does. It’s okay if your co-parent doesn’t act the same way you do because you two are not the same, and it takes a village to raise a well-rounded child. Trying to dominate too much can hurt your relationship with your child.

Warning Signs to Watch For

If your child experiences sleeping or eating problems, their grades take a sharp turn, or their temperament seems depressed or wildly out of control, consult a therapist. It also helps to read books about divorce with your child.

Have a Successful School Year

Divorce isn’t easy for you or your child, but it doesn’t have to negatively impact their education. To promote a successful school year:

  1. Keep the focus on what’s best for your child, staying involved in their lives and education.
  2. Keep your co-parent and child’s teacher looped in with appropriate and respectful communication.
  3. Look for information on the school’s website to stay in-the-know.
  4. Be flexible with your parenting plan as your child grows.
  5. Seek professional help for any severe signs that your child isn’t handling your divorce or school pressures well.

Check out apps for divorced parents that can help you and your co-parent share school expenses and schedules quickly and efficiently while keeping communication short, sweet, and to the point.

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