If you thought it was tough managing a successful co-parenting schedule during the summer, September will initiate newly divorced Michigan parents into the reality of a really-can’t-be-altered back-to-school routine. Even if you’ve been divorced for some time, these tips can help you cope with the complicated school schedule so that you don’t go crazy and your kids don’t get shortchanged in the process.
1. Plan Ahead, Way Ahead
Perhaps the last thing you want to do is spend more time with your ex-spouse, but it’s necessary to get all the key players in one place armed with calendars and smartphones. Plan the entire school year, from the first day to the last day, including pick-ups, drop-offs, in-service days, school breaks, holidays, and weekends (and don’t forget about extracurricular activities). There will of course be changes along the way, but at least you’ll be honoring your child custody agreement and have a rough draft from which to begin so everyone knows where they’re supposed to be and when.
2. Talk to the Teachers
Whether your child is in grade school or junior high in Mt. Clemens or elsewhere in Michigan, having a brief pow-wow with their teacher(s) can help eliminate confusion and perhaps eliminate any problems before they occur. Simple awareness can enable a teacher to shift their perspective to understand any unusual behavioral changes in your child. That doesn’t mean your kid will get away with acting out (or being withdrawn and uncommunicative), but your teacher will at least have a point of reference so they know how to proceed.
3. Initiate a Backpack Rule
Your child will be going back and forth between two residences and that means a lot of school stuff needs to go right along with them. Designate a backpack that is always with them, no matter whose house they’re going to for Michigan parenting time, and make sure your child is responsible for keeping it stocked with all their necessary school items and must-haves. It’ll help your kid feel a little more grounded and they’ll never be stuck at one house or another without a crucial textbook or personal item.
4. Get on the Lists
Maybe there was one spouse who took care of all the school responsibilities when you were married, but now that you’re divorced the situation has changed. Both parents need to be on all school email lists and mailing lists so that they both receive the same information about their child and any school happenings.
5. Communicate with Your Ex
You chose to have children with your ex-spouse, and that will always keep you connected, especially when your children are young and still in school. While your divorce may not necessarily have been amicable, for the sake of your children, be the adults and communicate with each other directly about all things involving school. Don’t expect your child to be the messenger. Thankfully, there are such things as texts and emails so you can get most of your back-and-forth done without always having to be face-to-face or speak on the phone.
Just as complicated as navigating the back-to-school season post-split is managing a divorce in progress when your children are headed back to the classrooms. Discuss your Mt. Clemens, Michigan, divorce questions with Michigan Divorce Help. Contact us to schedule your no-cost initial interview.