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Divorce, Family Law

School is Back in Session

As if the complications of juggling soccer game schedules and keeping an open line of communication with your ex aren’t stressful enough, now you are faced with sending the kids back to school post-split.

Take a deep breath because your family can successfully navigate the stress and complications of post-divorce. Here are some steps you can take to make the school year easier and more successful for everyone.

Speak With the School

Many schools offer divorce support groups and counseling sessions for children. Talk to your school’s administrative staff about any upcoming programs or group sessions that your child could attend. These programs present an opportunity for kids to learn that they are not the only people in their respective peer groups currently dealing with the stress and anxiety associated with parental divorce. The groups also provide ideas for coping techniques that could truly benefit your child.

Additionally, if the school has an online tracking system for grades, attendance and other announcements, it is a good idea for both parents to have login information so each side can be kept in the loop.

Chat With Your Children

Children are usually nervous and excited to go back to school during a typical year. They worry about wearing the right clothes, catching the right bus, and hanging out with the right friends. This year will be even more complicated as the kids adjust to two households. Speak with your child to get an idea of what you and your ex can do to help make the transition easier.

  • Really listen to your child’s concerns about starting school. Sometimes kids want suggestions, but often they just need to know you are paying attention.

  • Remember to check in every evening over dinner. Put the devices away and talk to each other about how the day went.

  • Kids like to know where they are going, where they will be sleeping, and when they will see the other parent again so make sure they know the schedule.

  • Arrange the schedule so children wake up at the parent’s home where the bus pick-up occurs to ease hectic mornings.

Talk To Your Ex, Not Through Your Kids

Speak with your ex-spouse regularly about your child’s education and after-school activities. Asking your children to relay a message to your ex is not only stressful for them, it is an unreliable means of communication. If you and your ex have difficulty with verbal communication, consider using email as your primary point of contact. Email is a great way to communicate directly with your ex about school matters, and you’ll have a written record. Keep messages concise and stick to the facts.

Lastly, be sure to address concerns as they arise. It is important that both parents have a clear understanding of the children’s needs.

Your Child’s Success is Up To You

Children, no matter their age, need you to be active and present in their lives. Stay involved.

  • Both parents should attend school conferences and ask for updates from teachers.

  • It is important to appear at your child’s basketball game or the school’s open house, even if it is not your scheduled custody week. Kids don’t care if it is your week or not, showing up to support your kids in school events sends a strong message that will not be soon forgotten.

  • Make sure that you and your ex each have access to the school’s online platform and email lists. It is each parent’s individual responsibility to make sure they are added to appropriate school lists.

Keep an Eye on Grades and Help With Homework

Oftentimes, a child’s emotional struggles will manifest in schoolwork. If your child’s grades start to decline, consider whether the work is truly too hard or if there is something deeper going on.

  • If you feel the school struggle is more emotional than academic, consult with a therapist or medical professional.

  • Both parents should help with homework assignments. One parent’s perspective might help a child understand history, while the other parent’s problem-solving skills could help with math.

Children from divorced families have the potential to be just as successful as children with married parents, but a harmonious co-parenting relationship is integral to this success. Most divorces are not born of an amicable marriage, so navigating this new territory can be trying at times. Keep your cool, take five minutes to relax when needed, and most importantly, remember that your children are counting on both of you.

Back to School Parenting Plans Utah Attorney

If you need assistance in creating a co-parenting agreement or help with child custody matters, please visit us at Schmidt.com. To schedule a free 30-minute consultation, complete our web form or call us at 801-895-3113 today.

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