Back-to-School Tips for Effective Co-Parenting

Back-to-School Tips for Effective Co-Parenting

Posted By R. Gregory Colvin LLC || 7-Aug-2018

If you and your spouse recently finalized your divorce and share children, you are now tasked with the shared challenge of co-parenting. Now that the new academic year is on the horizon or, in some cases, already here for some parents, you might be wondering how to tackle this as co-parents in an effective manner, without causing your children any unnecessary stress. If you and your former spouse are still harboring some bad feelings toward one another, it might seem daunting to have to coordinate and cooperate, but it is important for you to remember that doing so will help your children feel supported and cared for.

Below is a list of some key tips that will help you and your ex-spouse effectively co-parent your children during the back-to-school rush:

  • Stay on the same page: To ensure everyone is on the same page, some co-parents schedule weekly or monthly family meetings. This ensures that everyone is updated on what is going on in everyone’s lives and provides an opportunity for children to talk to both parents at the same time. Sure, some things can be communicated through texts and email, but even simple tasks can get lost in translation if you are not the most effective communicators.
  • Both parents should shop: Shopping is not a responsibility that should be delegated to one parent. Back-to-school shopping can get pricey and it is not a small feat, especially if you have a few children, so try to divide and conquer these responsibilities. This does not mean you have to shop for their back-to-school supplies and clothing together. If you are in a high-conflict relationship, make a list together and indicate which items you plan on purchasing.
  • Do not bring up child support issues: Money is always a sensitive subject, so do not bring up the issue of child support around your kids, no matter how frustrated you might get with the expenses you might be facing at this time. If you cannot buy the cool, new trendy items your kids want, refrain from blaming it on your former spouse and, whatever you do, do not badmouth him or her in front of them.
  • Help your kids with their homework: Regardless if your kids are geniuses, if they are residing in your home, you should take the time to sit down with them as they do their homework. You do not have to hold their hand through every assignment, but it is important for them to know that you are there to support them whenever they need you. Make sure you and your co-parent are always aware of important due dates regarding their work, so that no matter which home your children are in, they are getting the help they need.
  • Attend important school-related events with your co-parent: If possible, you and your co-parent should attend important school-related events with your children, such as parent-teacher conferences or school orientation. Attending these events together will not only be helpful for your children, but for both of you as well since you will be able to receive all information firsthand instead of having to relay it to one another.
  • Maintain the focus on your children: If you ever find yourself getting caught up in an unnecessary argument that is entirely unrelated to your children, take a minute to recalibrate and put the focus back on them rather than on bickering with one another. Remember, your relationship now is about co-parenting your kids, so whatever animosity you might feel toward one another needs to be set aside.
  • Have a co-parenting backpack: Backpacks are not just for kids. Consider getting a separate backpack for you and your co-parent that will allow you to transmit items and forms while leaving your children out of it. This way, the responsibility will fall on both of you to ensure the bag is always being passed over when it needs to be and takes the pressure of your children and ensures they do not get their hands on any materials they should not see or have access to.

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