Better Back-to-School Experience After a Recent Separation

Our family after a recent separation

Divorce requires major adjustments, and not just from the couple who’s splitting. Kids have to get used to a new normal, too — but they won’t be down forever.

Research suggests that most children bounce back within two years of their parents’ divorce. That’s better than the alternative, according to the American Psychological Association. They say that children with parents who stick together although they don’t get along face more problems down the line.

One major adjustment that children of divorce have to make is the return back to school after a separation. You may be wondering, “What can I do to make sure this is easy on our family?” Here are five tips for making the return back to school after a divorce as smooth as possible.

1. Create a Routine

Regardless of whether or not you’ve had a separation, routine is so important to your children. When they’re toddlers, routines help them to learn good behavior and habits. The same goes as they get older, and it becomes even more important to children whose parents have divorced.

Why? Because having a routine that they follow will give your children a sense of stability, too, which they will crave after their lives change in a major way. 

Work with your former spouse to decide who will do drop-offs and pick-ups every day, and who will take the kids to and from their activities. When they know who will be there to get them, they will feel a sense of calm, which is exactly what you want after a stretch of uncertainty.

2. Talk to Their Teachers

Your child might not want to talk to their teachers, coaches, counselors, or principals about what has happened. However, it will be beneficial to them and to your child to have school officials know.

Keep in mind that your child’s teachers want them to succeed as much as you do. Having a conversation before they return to school can help the teacher — or coach or principal — to be on the lookout for any changes in behavior. For example, if your child seems detached or sad, the teacher can guide them to the help they need from the school counselor.

At the very least, having a teacher know what’s going on will ensure your child has someone who’s understanding and sympathetic when they’re at school. For a child dealing with a big life change, that can make all of the difference.

3. Coordinate With Your Former Spouse

On that note, communication is key to making this transition as painless as possible. You don’t just need to talk to your child’s teachers, though. You need to make communication with your former partner as productive as you possibly can.

You will need to have conversations about all of the above and more. Who will handle what school-related responsibilities? Who will pay for fees and supplies? 

You and your former partner will also want to coordinate on attending school activities, performances, concerts, etc. It will be important to your child to have you both at big events, so you will have to be sure you both know what’s happening, and when.

A great way to figure all of this out is with a joint calendar specifically designed for those who are co-parenting. You can use these apps to schedule your everyday responsibilities and big events. You can also mark dates and times when you’ll be busy and have to readjust your schedule, too.

4. Give Your Child Space 

Not all children love school, but going to school does provide a lot of the stability and routine we discussed earlier. So, it’s important to let your child go to school without issue, enjoy their friends, and perhaps forget about their divorce-related concerns while they’re there.

How can you do this? For starters, we suggest discreetly discussing the divorce with other grown-ups, but not making it a widely known change to your child’s friends. They should be able to disclose such a big change when they feel comfortable.

Unfortunately, too, not all divorces are amicable. Even if there is discord or drama, though, you should try and keep that from your children and especially from their friends. Don’t let any disagreements play out at school or even when your child has a school friend over at your house.

5. Let Your Child Speak, Too

As you iron out the details of your divorce, don’t forget that your childish going through a huge change, too. Make sure they know that they can talk to you about anything, any time. Building that trust is vital to your relationship with your child, and it will also make them feel more confident and secure in a difficult time.

Keep in mind that this will be their first time returning to school after a major life change. Listen to and acknowledge their concerns and feelings. Even if your child is young, it’s so important that they feel listened to and valid in what they’re feeling.

If your child isn’t opening up, simply ask them how their day went when they get home. Try asking open-ended questions so that they talk more. Eventually, they should feel comfortable enough to express anything divorce-related that has been weighing on them, and you’ll both feel better for having the conversation.

Go Back to School Strong After Separation

After a separation or divorce, you might think, “Our family won’t recover.” But the truth is, you can make the transition easier on your children by providing them stability and comfort. That applies to your back-to-school journey and everything in between.

We’re here to make your divorce easier on everyone, too. Click here to learn more about 2houses, an app designed to make scheduling simple for parents who have split up.

How Can a Family Live Happily in Two Houses?

Live Happily in Two Houses?

One thing to keep in mind when dealing with divorce: you are not alone. The proportion of adults 35-39 who are separated has doubled from 2 percent in the 1970s to 4 percent in the 2000s. Fortunately, resources are available to make divorce easier for both parents and children. Yes, it’s possible for a family to live happily in two houses. 

In this article, we’ll talk about helpful tips to help children better cope with their parent’s divorce. We can help both parents and children in overcoming challenges associated with separation and live happily in two houses. 

Tips to Helping Your Children Cope Better 

To some children, living in two homes can be challenging. It may be more difficult especially when the ex-partner decides to live with another partner. Our tips can help your children accept the situation and still live happily albeit in two homes. 

Talk to Them About the Arrangement

As soon as you reached an agreement with your ex-partner, talk to your child right away. Explain things clearly as to why they need to live in two homes. Talk to them about the arrangement and explain why it has to be that way. We suggest both partners should talk to the children about the arrangement. If the kids have questions, be honest with your answers. 

Never Argue in Front of the Children

Arguing is normal between two people but it will not be healthy when you argue in front of your children. As much as possible, control your anger especially when the children are present. It can be difficult but you will have to try harder. 

If you need to argue, do this outside and not within your child’s earshot. Better yet, use email or the phone, and make sure the children aren’t present when you’re talking. Work things out amicably, as much as possible to avoid more conflicts down the road. 

Make Them Part of Your New Family

If you have new children, make sure that your kids from the previous relationship feel welcome in your home. Make them part of the family, as much as possible. Include them in celebrating special occasions or milestones. 

Never make them feel an outsider in your new family as that will be very difficult for them. We suggest giving them more time with their half-siblings, for them to get to know each other. You may want to enroll them in the same school too if this is possible. Remember, children can be sensitive especially when it comes to receiving attention. Make sure that you treat them equally to avoid parent-child issues.

Communication Constantly 

Communication is crucial to making a parent-child relationship work. If you’re a busy parent, make time to call or email your child. Countless platforms are available to help you get in touch with your children. Social media is one of them. 

In addition, make sure to also reach out to your ex-partner when it comes to your child’s progress or condition. We suggest using helpful tools to help you better communicate with your ex-wife or husband. Our 2houses features a simple messaging tool to help you better communicate with either your ex-partner or children. 

Spend Quality Time Together

For most families, mealtimes are when the parents talk to their kids about how their day went or how they are doing. Take advantage of this opportunity to talk to your children, tell jokes, plan an outing, or talk about anything under the sun. From time to time, organize a lunch out or dinner. Go to a favorite family restaurant and perhaps go to a movie after. 

Give Your Kids Their Own Space in Each of Your Home

Make them feel at home in both houses by giving them their own space. Encourage them to decorate their own bedroom however they want to decorate it. Never be judgmental of their taste to avoid conflicts. Also, consider having duplicate items in both houses so that your child won’t have to pack a lot of things. Some of these items include clothing, toys, toiletries, craft supplies, and other stuff your kids like to collect. 

Give Them Chores

Household chores don’t just help children learn about responsibility, it’s an opportunity for them to feel at home. If you have other children, make sure that you give them equal chores. Don’t let the other child do more chores than their siblings. 

Always Stay Positive 

Things may be difficult at first, but never give up. So long as you stay optimistic and open to your ex-partner, you’ll find out that a family can live happily in two homes. Be honest with each other and make sure that you don’t hold a grudge. If you feel misunderstood by your ex-partner, be open about it but try not to be argumentative. Most importantly, show your optimism in front of your children. 

Don’t make your kids guilty when they do something fun in your ex-partner’s home. Try to be genuinely happy for them and be respectful of their wishes. Also, never ask them to spy on your ex-partner as this can only lead to conflict. 

Live Happily in Two Houses

It’s understandable why some parents and children will struggle with the arrangement at first. You can make things easier by having the right communication tools. Our 2houses platform features a calendar to help both parents set and organize schedules better. We have a simple finance tool to help both parents effectively manage their finances. You can also store important information about your child and share it with your ex-partner. You can share photo albums and even share videos of your children. Try our 14-day trial now or talk to us if you have further questions. 

Put Your Kids First: Co-parenting With Someone Who Hurt You

Put your kids first

Shared custody agreements between parents in the United States grew to 25% recently. This is becoming a way of life for many people due to the high divorce rate, modern life changes, and non-traditional households. Effective co-parenting can nurture and guide a child toward becoming a well-adjusted adult. 

With the right strategies, everyone involved will come out of the situation better. But how can you co-parent with someone who hurt you?

You’ll have a larger hill to climb, but the results are rewarding. Here are some steps you can take when co-parenting with someone who hurt you. 

Seek Closure on the Relationship

Before you can enter into a co-parenting relationship, get closure on whatever hurts you experienced from the romantic relationship. Past hurts can become burdensome to the point that you’re not able to cooperate, communicate, and get on the same page.

Getting past your grievances helps you separate these feelings and do what’s right for the child. Hire professional mediation services so that you don’t leave anything unspoken with your co-parent. Clear the air early so that you can keep your focus in the right place. 

Some couples also make the mistake of never closing the door on their romantic relationship. This ends up with messy back and forth that confuses everyone involved. 

Get Professional Counseling 

In addition to relationship closure, seek professional counseling that can help you also reconcile with issues in your personal life.

Going to a counselor once a week will bring calmness to your life as you work through your custody arrangement and every aspect of co-parenting. Professional therapy can cost you $10-$30 with an insurance co-pay, and upward of $200 per session if you don’t have insurance. 

Prioritize the Child’s Needs

Keeping the child first is tops on the list of co-parenting tips that people need to follow. Every conversation that the two of you have should involve the well-being and care of your child, without muddying the waters. 

Cutting out distractions will help you make decisions when it comes to your child’s:

  • Education and homework 
  • Physical health and nutrition
  • Spiritual upbringing
  • Sports and extracurricular activities
  • Emotional and mental well-being

Set aside your individual needs and put your children first so that every decision counts. 

Improve the Way You Communicate

Strong communication strategies will help you co-parent without stepping on the landmines of past hurts. Learn to get your point across without being abrasive or offensive. Listen without reading into statements or making assumptions.

Put things in writing whenever you can, and treat the communication like a business, keeping your emotions to the side. If you’re going to send messages, consider using voice notes at times so that they can hear the tone of your voice. Some matters get lost in translation with text and can create tension. 

Take a Parenting Class

Some of the most effective co-parenting strategies you’ll learn are taught in parenting classes. Parenting classes can teach you core concepts related to parenting, and you’ll be better prepared to share time with your children. 

In addition to some traditional parenting aspects, these classes can teach things like:

  • First aid and CPR
  • Teaching your kids self-esteem
  • Learning to serve as a positive role model

When you approach parenting with this information, you will strengthen your family and your relationship with the co-parent. 

Have Regular Family Outings

Even though you live in different households, it’s important that you still take family outings. This teaches you to show up for the child’s interests while putting differences to the side and getting over past hurts. 

Your child will appreciate seeing the two of you getting along, and it’ll become easier for you to prevent emotions from hindering the process. Here are some family outings that will let you spend more meaningful time together while creating memories:

  • Going out to dinner
  • Catching a new release movie
  • Spending time at the park
  • Visiting a museum or amusement park
  • Grabbing some ice cream

Something as simple as going out as a family reinforces the fact that you still are one. Your child will look forward to these outings, and it’ll help build cohesion. 

Schedule Meetings With the Other Parent

Since you’re treating co-parenting like a business, formalize things by scheduling meetings with the other parent. These updates will do away with blind spots and will help keep you in the loop with each other. 

Keeping things in writing will also help you in the event that you have an issue that you need to take to family court. The more frequently you communicate with the other parent, the easier it’ll become over the years. 

Put Equality Out of Your Mind

Many people in co-parenting relationships doom themselves from the start because they’re under the illusion that things can or should be completely equal. 

Even if you have 50/50 shared custody, don’t expect things to be completely equal. You should be treated fairly, but there’s give and take in every relationship. More often than not, things won’t be split cleanly down the middle.

Internalizing this reality lets you set realistic expectations with each other and the situation as a whole.  

Co-Parenting With Someone Who Hurt You

Hurt is part of relationships, and you’ll walk away with plenty of it after ending a marriage. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t still co-parent effectively. Let the tips above guide you when you’re co-parenting with someone who hurt you. 

Apply the points in this article and check out our other posts about co-parenting and other issues.