School: Managing New Year With Two Households
Time surely flies. We are already facing the new school year. Some of us have already started school. Feelings of butterflies in the stomach, uncertainty, new schedules, new friends and more come bubbling to the surface. These challenges are often doubled when you take into account the complications of 2 households. How will the children of divorced parents fare with the new school year?
Oftentimes the new school year presents a wonderful opportunity for divorced parents to press the reset button and get on the same page with regard to the ins and outs of the school year. Parents are forced to evaluate many issues like homework, what their goals are, schedule and of course the big one-expenses. It’s very difficult for kids to succeed and thrive if the parents cannot work together for the benefit of the child. When doing mediation, I always try to forecast these scenarios and help my clients figure out how they will co-parent their children in situations that will occur in the future. We can’t predict everything but I’ve done enough mediation to understand what parents should be concerned with.
Ask yourselves what are my children’s goals for the year? Is it to play a particular sport and gain confidence? Or maybe it’s to get an A in honors math. If possible, include your former spouse in these discussions. Having your child see his parents discussing school goals will increase his chance of success. The same goes for homework. The parent who has time-sharing that particular day will be responsible for the child’s homework. Speak to your ex and make sure you both understand what is required of your child and each takes personal responsibility for ensuring your child completes his homework successfully.
The year will certainly be unpredictable to an extent, but try and work out a schedule with your ex so there is as little conflict as possible. Only commit to things you know either of you can get the child to. It’s vital to be clear about who is responsible for managing the schedule and sharing that schedule with the other parent. Lastly, each new school year inevitably brings on a variety of new expenses. Who is paying for school supplies and who is staying home with the child when he’s sick? In many cases, parents agree to split these situations 50/50 or in a way that matches their income levels.
A lot to think about as we approach the new school year. With a little bit of planning, kids in 2 household situations can have amazing, school years. At divorceharmony.com, we thrive on creating parenting plans that work for the entire family.