The start of a new school year means a new routine. Classes, homework and activities can create problems for a family's schedule, especially if you are co-parenting.
To minimize the stress of the new school year, use the tips below.
- 1. Make your child's best interests the top priority. You and your ex-spouse already agree: you want what's best for your child. Do not abandon this core belief when school is in session.
- 2. Begin planning for the entire school year as early as possible. This prevents conflicts regarding holidays and other times when school is not in session.
- 3. Support your child's relationships and friendships. Friendships and friend groups are extremely important to kids. Your child wants to do the things his or her friends get to do. During the school year, this could mean trying out for a team, joining band or choir or being part of a school club.
- 4. Respect the relationship your child has with the other parent. For some parents, this is not easy, but it is crucial for the emotional health of your child. Respect your child's affection for the other parent. Do not shut your child down, for example, when he or she says good things about the other parent -- what they like to do together, what their favorite meals are or even how cute the other parent's new baby is.
- 5. Be attentive. Time with your child is precious to both of you. Be in the moment. Put your phone away.
- 6. Respect your child's interests. Make an effort to engage with the child in the activities he or she enjoys. If your child enjoys board games, but you don't typically do that with your child, then play board games.
- 7. Respect your child's need for a consistent schedule. Children function best when they are on a predictable schedule (sleeping and eating, for example). This is especially important during the school year.
- 8. Introduce your child to activities you enjoy. Fall and winter can be packed with activities. Introduce your child to hobbies and things you enjoy.
In all situations, respect your child and respect the other parent. If you do that, then it will be a successful year.