If the upcoming school year is your child’s first since your separation or divorce, you likely have more than a little anxiety about how you’ll deal with it – and especially how your child is going to fare. That’s even more true if your child is going to a new school – either because of a move or because they’ve reached a transitional age.
You’ve likely read statistics showing that kids’ grades tend to slide after a parental breakup. That doesn’t have to be the case if there’s cooperation and communication between you and your co-parent, along with shared goals and expectations for your child. In fact, if their grades were suffering because of arguing and tension at home, your child may actually do much better once their parents are no longer together under one roof.
Consistent expectations and rules
If you’re sharing custody, it’s important to have more or less consistent rules across your households. That includes rules about prioritizing homework, maintaining good grades and not getting in trouble at school.
Communication is key
Co-parents should arrange with their child’s teachers and the school to send all communications to both of them separately. That includes assignments, grades, disciplinary actions, school events and more.
Communication with each other is also critical. It doesn’t have to be direct. You can set up a journal in your co-parenting app to list homework assignments and other info the other parent needs to have when your child is moving between homes.
It’s always best when co-parents can attend parent-teacher conferences together. This way, you’re both hearing the same information. It also takes less of the teacher’s time.
Work out school expenses so your child isn’t caught in the middle
If you haven’t already finalized your child support agreement, at least codify how school expenses will be split or reimbursed. Your child shouldn’t go back and forth between you to get their school uniform, lunch tab, supplies and other expenses paid for. Settle that on your own. Even if it’s a source of tension, don’t let your child know.
No co-parents handle that first school year after their break-up perfectly. By focusing on your child’s well-being and getting as many details settled as part of your parenting plan and other agreements as possible, you can help make things easier for everyone.