Back-to-school season means folders, notebooks, and pencil holders are in every store, and with good reason. It’s a lot easier to stay organized when you start organized. There’s just something about new classes and new teachers that inspires everyone to start fresh. Let this carry over into your co-parenting relationship with these five tips on how to stay organized and keep communication flowing.
1. Be Proactive
You certainly don’t have to tell your child’s teacher the details of your divorce or current co-parenting status. However, it is important to make the teacher aware of anything particular that they will need to do. For example, some divorced parents may not be able to attend the same parent-teacher conference due to differing work schedules. Letting the teacher know about these things early in the year — or even before school starts if possible — shows that you’re invested in your child’s education and willing to do what’s needed for their success.
2. Streamline Communication
Having children in school comes with a lot of paperwork. Field trip permission slips, parent volunteering options, fundraisers, and communicable illness notifications are just a few of the things that can come up multiple times throughout the school year. Make things simple for you and the other parent by keeping track of important notes and notices on 2houses. You can store important documents — such as fundraisers or science fair announcements — so you don’t have to worry about it being lost in transit. The calendar feature on the app lets you put parent schedules — such as vacations or days you’re working late — and your child’s schedule in one place. And the journal tool lets you share important reminders or just fun anecdotes and pictures where both parents can easily access it when they need to.
3. Double-Check Everything
Even in the best of co-parenting situations, divorced parents are juggling a lot, and it’s easy for things to get left out of messages or misunderstood. If something sounds off — like you thought Donuts with Dad was Friday but the other parent thinks it’s Thursday — double-check before assuming the other person is wrong. Most schools today have parent portals where you can easily get information directly from the source.
4. Keep Things the Same as Possible Between Houses
Children have a lot to deal with during the school year. There are tests, daily homework, social issues to navigate, and sports/extracurricular activities. And during all of this, your child is still making huge developments physically and emotionally. All of these can increase stress levels. One way you can reduce this and help your child and yourself stay organized is to try to keep things consistent between houses. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be exactly the same. However, working with your ex to find a schedule that works for both of you — such as homework gets done right after school before dinner or the parent checks the school notice folder every evening — creates stability for your child and more peace for you.
5. Make Respect and Compassion Priorities
You already know that good co-parenting is about respecting your ex as a parent of your child. Remember that your children shouldn’t have to bear any unnecessary burdens just because they have divorced parents. This may mean sending reminders to the other parent without sarcasm or passive aggressive phrasing or just reminding yourself that they might have had a bad day when they’re short with you. Thinking of — and treating — your fellow co-parent as you would a respected colleague can go a long way toward a smooth co-parenting relationship and an easier, more organized school year.