Getting into the routine of a new school year after a hectic summer can be a difficult transition for kids. The close of endless days of sun and playing make way for more structured time in a classroom setting. These change can be particularly daunting for children whose parents have recently separated or divorced, as they process the emotions of this difficult new normal. As a parent, it is important to realize that transition times like the start of a new school year, holiday breaks and vacations can be difficult for children who are impacted by divorce. However, a bit of preparation can go a long way to make the start of a new school year smoother.
Dialogue with teachers
The start of school normally means brand new teachers for your child. While some information about your child will be available to teachers in school files, in general, they do not have a lot of insight into your family situation. Take time to talk to each of your child’s teachers and let them know what has been going on with your family. Give them input regarding any emotional concerns your child has been having and how you have been working through these issues at home. Be sure to have these conversations early in the school year so teachers can come up with strategies to get your child off to a great start in the classroom.
Divide and conquer
Back-to-school means a bit of extra shopping. School supplies, clothing and other necessities can add up quickly. Consider creating a list of what your children require and divide the list between both parents. This ensures that one parent is not saddled with the brunt of the expenses or time it takes to get back-to-school ready. Additionally, as needs come up during the year, be sure to clearly communicate who will be responsible for these expenses.
Even without the stress of a divorce or separation, back-to-school scheduling can be overwhelming. Consider creating a joint online calendar that both parents can access. This will ensure that everyone knows what is coming down the road. In addition to activities, many online scheduling apps allow you to include homework, permission slips, report cards and other details as they relate to your child’s school and extra-curricular needs.
Even though your relationship did not work out the way you planned, it is important to work together in the best interest of your child. They need to know that you are both doing your part and support their educational, emotional and social needs. This means that both parents should commit to a back-to-school schedule including unified bed times, wake-up times, grooming habits and other things that will help prepare a child for a new school year. In addition, both parents should take time to encourage their child and discuss any concerns they may have about starting the new year. Be sure that you are both aware of any issues they may be having through open communication and dialogue.
Act like mature adults
While this might seem like and obvious statement, it is important to remember this when struggles occur. Both of you want what is best for your child and working together to that end is very important. This means not withholding information or using manipulation to get what you want.
If you are going through a divorce and need additional resources to help your child with the adjustment process, please feel free to contact us. At McLario, Helm, Bertling & Spiegel our goal is to compassionately assist our clients in all their family law needs.