According to a meta-analysis of 33 studies conducted by psychologist Robert Bauserman, children of divorced parents tend to be more well adjusted when there is a joint custody agreement rather than a sole custody agreement. Many parents who are getting divorced choose to pursue a joint custody agreement, both for the wellbeing of the child and because they both desire to be involved in their child’s life.
Joint custody can allow a child to grow up with the influence of both of their parents. However, it can also create a logistical puzzle to figure out when you factor in work schedules, school schedules, and more.
As the summer comes to a close and school starts back up again, the rhythm of your child’s life will change. This means that your co-parenting relationship will have to shift to accommodate this change.
Are you wondering what you can do to make your co-parenting easier during the back-to-school time? We’ll discuss a number of tips including how a co-parenting app can help keep your schedule and communications organized.
Have Strong and Consistent Communication
It’s important that both parents are informed about their children’s health, academics, and social developments. For this reason, weekly communication should be established.
There are a number of different ways to regularly and frequently communicate regarding your child’s schooling. There isn’t necessarily a right way to do it, but it is important to establish an understanding of the communication avenues for this purpose.
Depending on your relationship with your co-parent, some communication tools might be more appropriate than others. E-mail, texting, and phone calls might be appropriate ways to stay in touch about how your child is doing in school. You can also utilize a co-parenting app to help streamline communication and reduce confusion and disorganization.
Build a Structured Schedule
Building a structured schedule is important both for divorced parents and for their children. For parents, it helps both people keep track of the child’s activities. For children, it helps give them a sense of routine, security, and certainty that is an important part of healthy child development.
When you have a set and agreed-upon schedule, it helps everyone involved understand what is expected of them. Rather than dealing with constant confusion over misunderstood expectations, a structured schedule makes it clear where and when each person is supposed to perform certain duties.
It is completely fine to have a flexible schedule if that works best for the parents and the child. Allowing for flexibility can be important because work schedules can differ and because life can be unpredictable. However, in order for there to not be holes or mistakes made, communication is key.
One of the ways that you can reduce miscommunication in this regard is by using an interactive calendar that allows both parents to schedule and manage changes while eliminating time clashes.
Be Present For School Activities and Events
Even if you and your co-parent have difficulties in getting along, it’s important to be able to come together when it comes to school events and activities. Whether these are sports games, spelling bees, science fairs, school plays, or any other kind of school-related activity, it’s ideal for both parents to attend and show their support for their children.
During this time, it’s important to put the needs of your child first. However, if you and your ex aren’t able to sit together without getting into an argument, you might choose to sit separately to avoid relationship drama seeping into your child’s activity.
Be Attentive During Homework
One of the most important roles a parent plays for a school-age child is to be there when your child needs help with something, including homework. During the time when your child is living with you, take the time to sit down with them and learn what they’re working on and if they have questions.
When you do this, you are demonstrating that you are there to help in all parts of their lives. It can also be good to coordinate with your co-parent about how you plan to help with their schooling.
Don’t Let Drama Impact Your Child’s Academic Life
Divorce can be difficult in many respects, and it isn’t uncommon for there to be hard feelings between co-parents. That being said, it’s important to ensure that the issues between the two of you don’t impact your child’s academic life or overall wellbeing.
You don’t want your child to be distracted from their studies by relationship drama. For this reason, it’s essential that you and your ex are on the same page when it comes to your child’s social and academic needs. When both parents are engaged, it gives the child an important experience of security.
Coordinate Ahead of Time
One of the best ways to avoid conflict and confusion when it comes to co-parenting a school-aged child is to be on the same page. This means coordinating the details ahead of time. When it comes to parent-teacher conferences, school supplies, and how information will be exchanged, you will want to create an outline and understanding ahead of time.
You will need to create routines for things like extra-curricular activities, pickups and drop-offs, inclement weather, and emergency scenarios.
There are always going to be events in life that you can’t anticipate and plan for. However, you can leave a lot more room for dealing with this type of event by being organized and realistic about routine activities ahead of time.
The better able you are to plan for potential contingencies down the road, the fewer confrontations or miscommunications will occur.
Discuss the Cost of School Supplies
When you are splitting custody of your children, there is obviously a financial aspect to be taken into account. You should be considerate of how the costs of school supplies will be dealt with ahead of time. The last thing you want is for your child to need something for school and for the process to be derailed by confusion or conflict.
Talking about this ahead of time also ensures that your child doesn’t end up with duplicate supplies or isn’t missing particular things they need.
Take a look at this article for more tips on keeping track of shared expenses.
Meet Teachers Together
Ideally, it is best for both parents to get to know the teachers of their children. You can also take this opportunity to let teachers know about your family’s living arrangements and situation.
Divorce can be hard on children, and this can sometimes manifest itself in emotional outbursts, behavioral problems, learning challenges, and more. When you are straightforward with their teachers about what is going on at home, it opens a door of communication and keeps them informed. This also means that you might be better equipped to stay on top of any issues as they are arising.
In a co-parenting situation, it’s important that both parents are aware of all of the details of a child’s academic life. This includes information about afterschool activities, major projects, grades, and lunch menus. You can help make the job of co-parenting easier for both of you by sharing copies of important deadlines and schedules, which can keep you both up to speed.
Create a Shared Calendar
One great tool that can help make it easy to share information and schedules is a shared calendar. This can also reduce direct communication between you and your ex, which might help to reduce the opportunity for conflict if there are still relationship issues that haven’t been worked out.
How to Increase Your Chances of Co-Parenting Success
One study found that children who are raised by co-parents that work cooperatively together have fewer behavioral issues. These children also tend to have closer relationships with their fathers than kids who are raised by a single parent or hostile co-parents. Here are a few tips to help you increase your chances of success when it comes to co-parenting.
Let Go of the Past
It’s important to never vent your frustrations about your ex to your child. These feelings are best shared with a therapist or close friends or family members. If you have nothing but contempt for your ex, it will be very difficult to successfully co-parent.
Keep the Focus on the Child
The most important thing for you to focus on in the present is what is best for your child. It can be difficult to move beyond past relationship issues but being unable to do so can take the focus away from what matters most.
Good communication is absolutely essential as a part of co-parenting. Some guidelines you will want to follow include:
- Be respectful, clear, businesslike, and concise when you are communicating
- Keep email and texting communications brief and to the point
- Set and stick with boundaries you have set up about the appropriate time of day for sending messages to one another
- Communicate directly if possible rather than through an intermediary
- Be cooperative when you are in communication
So much confusion, pain, and difficulty can be created when we fail to communicate clearly and with good intentions. For this reason, it’s essential to focus on sticking with these guidelines and the guidelines you’ve set with your co-parent.
Communication has two halves: one is speaking and one is active listening. Work to make sure that your co-parent feels both heard and understood. Be sure to avoid interrupting them when they speak and take turns speaking.
It can be helpful to repeat what your co-parent said in your own words after they have spoken. You can then ask if you understand correctly what they have said. This helps ensure miscommunication doesn’t occur.
Work Together and Support One Another
For the best interest of your child, it’s important that you learn to work together. Mutually agreed-upon rules should be abided by. These include things relating to bedtime, curfew, screen time, diet, or other aspects of life.
Plan Ahead For Vacations and Holidays
Co-parents can struggle with dealing with vacation and holiday time. However, these times of the year can be made much easier by planning ahead of time and good communication.
It’s best to always give as much notice in advance as possible when it comes to these plans. When you are traveling with your kids, give your co-parent contact information so they will know where you are and how to reach you.
It’s good to practice consistency when it comes to holidays, too. If your child usually spent Thanksgiving with your ex’s side of the family and Christmas with your side of the family before you split up, it’s best to keep the routine the same if possible.
Check out this article for helpful information about creating a schedule for the summer.
Be Willing to Compromise
Compromise is just as important in a co-parenting relationship as it was when you two were still together. It’s always best to work towards a solution that you can both live with when you don’t agree on an issue.
Are You Looking For the Right Co-Parenting App?
When you start a co-parenting relationship, it can seem difficult and overwhelming at first. However, many of the issues that can crop up can be mitigated by organization and communication. Putting in the time and effort to come up with a plan that works for both of you as well as for your child can go a long way.
Staying organized can be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to co-parenting. Using a co-parenting app can be a major help when it comes to removing stress from a two-house arrangement. If you’re looking to improve communication and organization between you and your co-parent, learn more about 2houses here.