Co-parenting – 5 tips that make going back to school easier!

back to school when you're divorced - 2houses

The summer break is over and going back to school can be stressful not only for children, but for parents who are separated too! Here are a few tips to make going back to school as smooth as possible…

1) Establish a regular routine

Everyone relaxes during the summer break – we don’t eat at regular times, go to bed late and are free to do as we please. Sophie Dierick, a teacher and separated mom of 2 teenagers, is convinced that “a lot of stress and conflicts could be avoided if parents were stricter on kids going back to school”. The first piece of advice is therefore to progressively regulate your child’s routine by, for example, bringing bedtime forward by 15 minutes every day in the week before they go back to school and suggesting some intellectual activities (reading, puzzles, etc.).

2) Plan your back-to-school expenses

Review the situation with your co-parent: what does your child need in both houses? Are there any shared expenses? Can anything be reused? Think outside the box: going back to school isn’t just about buying school stationery, but also renewing bus passes, sorting their wardrobe, replacing old trainers and even budgeting an allowance for school dinners. Avoid peak times when planning your purchases or, better still, buy everything online! Don’t forget to discuss your respective expenses as well as your views on how these should be allocated.

3) Find an extracurricular activity

Extracurricular activities, such as plays, music, sports and scouting, are vital in helping a child build their self-confidence and channel their energy. Find out in advance about activities in your area that your son or daughter would like. Add any subscription fees and doctor’s visits for medical certificates to your shared custody schedule.

4) Put their mind at ease by keeping things tidy

A tidy and well-stocked desk can also motivate your child to get back into the school mindset! If your child is old enough for homework, it is important to show them that you want to help them work comfortably by setting up a quiet area, away from any distractions. Having a tidy backpack in class will also reassure them. Our teacher can’t stress this enough: “On the first day back at school, children need to have all the necessary supplies. If they don’t, they will slow down the group and this will scare them, especially the little ones.”

5) Update your diaries

Doctors, coaches, the parents of their (new) best friend… Have you added all those handy telephone numbers to your address book? A shared diary for separated parents means this information can be accessed stress-free at any time!

Do you have any other tips for making going back to school easy for your child and co-parent? Share them in our comments section!

©2013, 2houses the co-parenting facilitator.

Say Hi To Oscar: The New Kid That May Change Health Insurance

oscar the app for health insurance - 2houses

In five weeks from now, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates the opening of health insurance exchanges around the country. At that time New Yorkers will be introduced to an innovative way of thinking about health care: Oscar. Three friends, and technology entrepreneurs, teamed up to do something that has been inconceivable to date—create a start-up health insurance company to take on conventional health insurers on the NY exchange. Oscar co-founders, Josh Kushner, Kevin Nazemi and Mario Schlosser, plan to change the health insurance industry through technological interfaces, telemedicine and real transparency. Their goal is to redesign insurance to be geared toward the user experience, to make patients seek out their insurer before their doctor.

Americans do not usually think of health insurance as an intimate part of the care process. When sick, individuals do not call their insurance company for care or support. The health insurance industry is considered confusing, at best. The ACA however, presents an opportunity for the reformation of health insurance as we know it, not because of its disappearance, but by making it an integral part of receiving quality care. According to one co-founder, “We want consumers to feel like they have a doctor in the family.” That family doctor he speaks of is Oscar.

Oscar will have one plan in each of the ACAs metal-tiered categories, and additional plan options for the Bronze and Silver tiers. Although Oscar will have some of the familiar pillars of the health care industry like co-pays and deductibles for in-person visits, it introduces new elements like free telemedicine, free generic drugs and online price comparisons. Oscar health insurance will pioneer “a consumer experience, not a processor of claims,” explained Nazemi, with the goal of simply guiding individuals through the complex health system in an integrative and safe way.

Read more… by Nicole Fisher and Scott Liebman