Jun 19

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

As the summer ends and kids head back to school, a whole new set of co-parenting and communication problems need to be handled.  How you are going to successfully co-parent at school will determine how your child succeeds in school.  If school becomes another war zone, then your child is less likely to be successful.

If you do not get along with your ex, the school situation is going to be quite difficult.  If you do get along then you are going to find that it is not that difficult to figure out how to get things done at the school.  The school year can be stressful for any parents but for those who are co-parenting the stress level can significantly increase.  Co-parents need to have a plan so that they can avoid conflict over their children’s education.


Understand Court Documents

One of the first things that you will need to do when you are trying to be successful co-parents with your child’s education is understand what your court documents say and mean.  The reason that you should first consult paperwork is so that you understand exactly what rights you have.

Some court documents require that parents make joint decisions about things like education while others have one appointed parent who is going to be the main decision maker.  If you have joint communication and get along well then there is no reason that you should not be able to make decisions together.  If you don’t communicate well or have some other reason, then one of the parents was likely appointed during court to be the main decision maker.


Come Up with a Plan at School

 The next thing that you are going to want to do is make sure that you can come up with a plan at school.  The plan should be discussed between the two parents when at all possible.  This way everything can be agreed upon and it is not confusing for the school or teachers.  If you cannot talk, trying to write down everything that each of you want before going is a good idea.  Also, having all court papers and documents in hand is essential.


Plan Who Will Attend School Events

One thing that you should decide upon before you go to the school is how you will handle the two of you attending school events.  The best way to go about this is to logically consider the parents’ work schedules and who will be available during the different times.  One parent might find that it works best for them to do the things during school hours while it works out better for the other parent to do those that are happening after school.  It also might work out that parents need to trade which events that they will attend with the child or that both parents can attend events together.  Just have a plan ahead of time so that you both know the expectations for who will be at the child’s events and activities.


Plan Who Will Fill Out Paperwork/Be Contacted First

Typically, it is easiest for the custodial parent to be contacted first with any child.  However, there are times when this might not be what is best for the children.  Think about where each parent works/lives and who can get to the child’s school quicker.  Also consider if one parent has other children in the same school and whether or not the parent who is being contacted can relay back information to the other parent.


What to Let Teachers Know

Teachers do not need to know about all of the dirt that you have on your ex.  It is obvious to everyone involved that an ex is an ex for a reason.  So, keep yourself clear headed when talking to teachers or others at your child’s school.  Think about how you can put into words simply what each parent’s expectations are.  Let the teacher know if different parents are picking up/dropping off and what days that is happening.  A set schedule is a good idea when possible.  When this is not possible, it might be necessary to send your child’s teacher a weekly note outlining who will be taking and picking up the child each day.

Jun 19

4 Tips to Help Parents Encourage Healthy Lifestyle Habits in Children and Teens

One of the critical roles parents have is preparing their children for adulthood. This includes instilling positive values and social awareness, but it should also include helping kids make healthy choices in their everyday lives. That can be tough, especially for parents of teens, but these tips can make your job a little easier and their lives so much better.


Talk to Teenagers About Driving Safely

If you have a teenager, it is imperative to have discussions about driving safety. Try discussing lighter topics first if you feel odd about starting with safety. For example, you can use this auto insurance guide to give your teen a quick trip through car insurance 101, explaining what policies typically include, and the laws around driving uninsured. Once you open the discussion, however, do not avoid talking about the heavier topics as well. According to the CDC, accidents are a leading cause of death for American teenagers, so addressing basic driving safety with your teen could save someone’s life. Go over vehicle safety, and also touch on the common unsafe driving behaviors, such as texting behind the wheel, that can lead to fatal accidents.


Discuss Mental Health

Accidents may be a leading cause of injury and death for young Americans, but mental health is a common risk as well, especially for teenagers. Over the last few decades, researchers and health experts have started to recognize the importance of mental health in terms of overall wellness. One of the most helpful things you can do to help your children manage their own mental health is to treat mental health issues just as you would a physical illness. Doing so can reduce the stigma around getting help for and managing mental health for your children, which will make it much more likely for them to carry those important lessons into adulthood. You can also provide your children with the self-care tools they need to manage their emotions and lessen feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.


Set Positive Examples When It Comes to Diet

Unhealthy eating habits can be another major risk to the long-term health of your children and teens. Helping your child eat more vegetables and fruits is a step toward creating lasting diet changes, but their habits around food can encompass so much more. It’s also important to set a good example when it comes to portion size and emotional eating. The last one is crucial for parents to address because researchers have found that adults who use food as an emotional crutch are not born with this behavior. Instead, they actually learn it from childhood, whether it’s through being rewarded with food or watching their parents practice the same unhealthy behaviors. If you tend to use food to feed your emotions, try to find ways to break those patterns and begin practicing the same healthy diet habits with your entire family.


Ensure Children Get Outside for Fun and Healthy Exercise

Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to preventing disease, like diabetes, which is why it’s so important to instill these healthy habits in your little ones. Getting children and teens interested in exercise can often be challenging for parents, especially when social media and video games are involved. However, staying fit as a family can help children of all ages learn to love exercise, so plan some of your activities together around fun and simple exercises. You can play a game of hopscotch at home or get out for a nature hike. Team sports are also a good way for your kids to stay active. Plus, playing sports can provide other life benefits as well, such as higher self-esteem, increased problem-solving skills, and better time management.

As a parent, you know that your job is one of the toughest in the world. After all, not only are you responsible for the health of your children now, but you are also responsible for helping them live healthy lives as adults. Help your children and teenagers make the best choices for their bodies and their minds now so they can live happier lives later.


Photo Credit: Unsplash