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Back to school season: Tips for recently divorced parents

Summer tends to be a popular time for divorce. One study conducted by the University of Washington found that in addition to March, August has one of the highest divorce rates in the country compared to the rest of the year.

Couples who finalize their divorce before the beginning of the new school year, can find it difficult and stressful to figure out a good co-parenting schedule for their children. Regardless of the language contained in their child custody and access schedules, there are numerous things parents can do ahead of time to make the back-to-school season go more smoothly. For example, parents could:

Create a shared online calendar

Despite the parties living separately, each should make every effort to attend their children’s events. It is important to remember that the well-being of the children is what matters most during this time, and despite their parents being separated, children will still want both of their parents to know about and attend their school activities. In order for this to happen, both parties need to be kept in the loop. Creating a shared online calendar (e.g., Google Calendar, Family Time Planner, Family Wizard, Cozi Central) are excellent tools to help achieve this. By using a shared online calendar, the children’s sports practices, school concerts, parent-teacher conferences, other school-related events and extra-curricular activities can be listed.

Go to parent-teacher conferences together

It is important for the parties to remember that no matter how toxic the divorce process was, they need to put their feelings aside and should attend all parent-teacher conferences together. It is critical for both parents to be on the same page regarding their children’s education, especially if a child has special needs or is struggling. Meeting with the children’s teachers together helps children feel secure that each parent is there for them, and that both parents receive the same information at the same time. This also prevents misunderstandings and misinformation.  

Show up together on the first day

For children who are going to school for the first time, or for young children in elementary school, the first day can be a scary and intimidating event. Having both parents present on the first day can help make the day seem less scary and help for a positive transition to school.

One of the most important things to remember during back-to- school time is the well-being of the children. Ensuring their home life in both homes is stable and loving goes a long way to making sure their school transition goes smoothly.

With a little planning ahead, the parties can ensure that their children start the new school year off on the right foot and everyone can live happily ever after.