Back-to-School Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents

Co-Parenting Tips for When Your Kids Go Back to School

As the new school year approaches, it's essential for co-parents to come together and ensure a smooth transition for their children. Co-parenting during this time can present unique challenges, but with effective communication and coordination, parents can smoothly navigate this transition and help their child flourish in school.

Here are some actionable tips to help co-parents navigate the back-to-school season with ease:

Establish Open and Regular Communication:

Maintaining open lines of communication is crucial for successful co-parenting. Set up regular check-ins through phone calls or virtual meetings to discuss important school-related matters.

You might even consider downloading a co-parenting app that can house notes and communications between parents. This will help both parents stay informed and involved in their child's education.

Create a Shared Calendar

Having a shared digital calendar can greatly simplify scheduling conflicts and ensure that both parents are on the same page. Include important dates such as school events, parent-teacher conferences, and extracurricular activities. This will help co-parents coordinate drop-offs, pickups, and any other necessary arrangements.

Keep Your Child’s Backpack with Them

Instead of having your child carry two backpacks, use their backpack as a hub for both parents. Important documents like permission slips, notes from teachers, and homework or project information won’t be easily lost.

Discuss & Maintain Expectations Concerning Academic Performance & Homework

You should clearly discuss (if you have not outlined this in your parenting plan) what you expect from your child academically. Having clear expectations can help parents be consistent in their messaging and discipline. Throughout the school year, you should also:

  • Maintain consistency in rules and expectations across both households. Having similar routines, bedtimes, homework schedules, and discipline methods will provide stability for your child during the back-to-school season.

  • Create a homework routine that works for both households. Set aside a designated time for homework and provide a quiet and distraction-free environment for your child. Encourage regular communication between households to ensure assignments are completed on time.

Encourage Healthy Communication Channels

As children navigate the challenges of school life, it's important for them to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns. Encourage open and honest communication between your child and both parents. Let them know that you are there to listen and support them.

Be Respectful in Front of Your Child

Even if co-parenting has its challenges, it's crucial to maintain a respectful attitude toward each other in front of your child. Avoid negative comments or arguments, as this can create unnecessary stress for your child and affect their focus on academics.

Make Sure Your Child’s School & Teacher Know About the Separation

Your child’s teachers can monitor your child’s behavior and inform you of signs they are acting out or struggling with your divorce. They can also update their records so they know who to contact on what day if they need to contact a parent.

Remember Your Parenting Plan Can Be Modified

If co-parenting conflicts become overwhelming or affect your child's well-being, consider seeking the help of a professional mediator or therapist. They can provide guidance and support in resolving differences and strengthening communication.

Should you or your co-parent experience continued challenges in adapting to your parenting plan or working with one another, you can also consider modifying your agreement. For instance, you might consider modification if you would be better served doing custody exchanges at school pick up or drop off or have scheduling concerns because of your child’s educational needs or afterschool activities.

In Florida, if parents agree to modify their parenting plan terms, they can draft and file a modified arrangement with the court. In cases where parents do not agree, parents will need to petition the court and prove that a change in circumstances necessitates the modification of their current agreement.

At the Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office, we are equipped to help with initial petitions for custody as well as modifications—call (727) 312-1112 to schedule an appointment today.


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