Despite the oppressive heat, it’s almost back to school time again. By this point in the summer most parents are pretty ready for school to begin. One of the best ways to make the school year smoother for your kids is to plan ahead with your coparent! Firm up a schedule as much as you can before the school year begins. There are a variety of apps available that are useful to help divorced parents mutually handle their schedules.
Make sure to include the following on your mutual planning calendar:
- The parenting plan schedule from your divorce agreement.
- Any work related or personal items of yours that will affect the parenting plan.
- Family travel time.
- Science fairs and other academic events.
- Extracurricular activities.
- Kids’ medical and dental appointments.
- School holiday closings.
- School vacations.
- Parent/teacher conferences.
- Dances and social events.
Both parents should already be logged in with the schools so you can get school information directly. Make sure you are on the automatic list for information on school closings as well. It’s always a good idea to put school information in the shared calendar, that way you can avoid the inevitable, “I didn’t know about it!” Lots of critical information comes home in backpacks. Be sure to check, copy and share. This may feel like an imposition but it will make your child’s life much smoother.
It’s a good idea to have a discussion with your coparent each year about the best way to handle homework. The amount of homework and thus it’s inclusion in parenting time increases as the kids get older. What may have worked in third grade might not work in fourth, and definitely won’t work in seventh! Some of us are better at languages and some at math and sciences. If possible, make sure you’re playing to your strength. In an ideal co-parenting world sometimes homework can be divided by parental skill set.
And finally a word about stepparents, often the unsung heroes of post-divorce parenting. They carpool, feed, deliver and share responsibilities. To the extent possible they should be included in the schedule. If you haven’t already seen it, watch Mother’s Day, by the late Gary Marshall. It says it all…