Co-parenting after a divorce is difficult enough. Your relationship with your ex-spouse evolves, requiring each of you to work with the other and adapt to your new roles. Communicating and creating consistency for your children is challenging even when a marriage is intact.
When the summer winds to a close and your children head back to the classroom, successful co-parenting can seem impossible, especially if this is your first school year post-divorce. Here are four tips to help you and your co-parent get ahead of the curve, avoid conflict and create a comfortable life for your kids.
Communicate with your co-parent
When class is in session, the days are littered with potential sources of conflict. The key to a successful school year as co-parents is communication. Create an exhaustive plan at the beginning of the year. It should cover everything from how your children will get to and from school to who will leave work to watch them on sick days and snow days. Make it a goal to consider all information as important-even not knowing the school’s lunch menu can be enough to leave one spouse feeling left out, and make a goal of meeting to coordinate in-person on a regular basis.
Attend back to school night and parent teacher conferences together
When it comes to your children’s education, it is critical that you and your co-parent be on the same page. That’s why, as long as you can keep it civil, it’s best if you and your co-parent attend meetings with your children’s teachers together. You’ll get the same feedback from teachers in the same context. And it will give the teacher important information that can help them teach your kids. Most importantly, it will enable you and your ex to work together and do what is best for your children. Both your children and their teachers will take comfort in your presenting a united front when it comes to attendance, grades and discipline.
Attend school events together
Whether it’s a soccer game or the science fair, we understand that the last thing you want to do is spend your time sitting in the bleachers with your ex husband or wife, especially when he or she brings along their new significant other. But attending school and sporting events together and showing your support for your children is more important than your personal feelings toward your co-parent. Create a shared online calendar of speech tournaments, sporting events, school plays and any other activities so you can each attend. Even if you have to sit on opposite sides of the stands, it’s important to be there.
Always make yourself available to your children
Remember that your and your co-parent’s goal is to help your children maintain a safe foundation when they may feel like their whole world is being turned upside down. Make sure you’re always available to help them with their homework or talk to them about their day.