Parents going through a divorce are realizing that opting for joint custody is much more beneficial for the child. This option allows the child to spend equal time with each parent and makes both parents monetarily responsible for the child while giving each parent equal decision-making capabilities for the child’s well-being. However, co-parenting can also be a challenge in its own way, especially when it comes time for your child to go back to school. Instead of starting a fight with your ex about your child, here are some co-parenting tips for the new school year.
Pay attention to your child’s schedule…and your own.
As the school year begins, your child will have an entirely new schedule that you’ll need to handle, which can include anything from sports to after-school clubs to other activities. In order to co-parent effectively, you and your ex need to both be on the same page regarding your child’s schedule and getting involved in activities. This way, you both know where your child needs to be and when, and you can add this into your own schedule so you can attend games, get them to and from practices, etc. Be sure that both parents have their email and phone number on any contact lists so that you’re both constantly in the loop regarding schedules and any changes so that neither of you is relying on the other.
Set the same rules.
Before the school year begins, it’s very important for you and your ex to talk about rules you have in place for your children and ensure you’re both on the same page. For instance, you both should have the same type of rules, such as curfews set for your child as well as expect the same type of contributions around the house. If you don’t, your child will start to take advantage of the parent who is looser on rules than the other, and this could turn into resentment for the parent with stronger rules. The best thing to do is to talk about the rules you’ll have, and then each of you talk together with your child so they know that the rules are in play at both houses. To keep you and your spouse on the same page, it’s also a good idea for you to sign a joint parenting agreement or contract that legally binds you both to keep it.
No matter what type of personal feelings you may have for your ex, it’s important that you both talk openly about your child on a regular basis. Thanks to technology, this communication can be done via text messages or emails instead of in person or over the phone. Set some time to talk every week about your child, their behavior, and anything else you may have learned about them throughout the week. If either of you notice any issues with your child, such as a lack of effort, withdrawal from social activities, or anything else that may stand out, be sure to talk about this as well. When you’re both on the same page, it keeps your child in line and can help you both constantly look out for your child’s well-being.
Stay positive about your ex.
It’s very important that your child have strong relationships with both parents, which means you need to encourage your child to spend time with the other and build a relationship. If you have bad feelings about your ex, talking to your child about it is not the right thing to do. Instead, keep your personal feelings to yourself and always express happiness for your ex in front of your child.
Co-parenting can have its challenges, but it’s extremely important for your child. By using these tips, you and your ex can prepare for a great school year for your child.