With children going back to school this fall, parents across Texas are shopping for new supplies or going to meet new teachers.
If you are newly divorced and sharing custody of your child, you may have some additional preparations to consider as you enter a new school year.
Changes in schedules
During the summer months, you may have had one schedule in place in terms of custody exchanges and who cares for your children. However, the school year can change this.
Talk to the other parent before the school year starts to discuss topics like pickups and drop-offs. You should also think about bus routes, after-school programs and whether your availability will change in the fall.
Managing extracurricular activities
If your child is playing sports this fall, trying out for the school play or playing an instrument in the school band, now is a good time to address responsibilities and expectations for these extracurricular activities.
Parents should be clear on:
- Who should and can attend related functions
- Whether one or both parents will be volunteering or coaching
- Managing out-of-town tournaments, games or performances
These scenarios can get complicated if parents do not discuss them in advance.
Communicating with the school
If this is your first school year with a new custody arrangement, notify your child’s school. They should know who they can and should call if:
- Your child gets sick
- There is an emergency at the school
- Your child’s academic performance is suffering
- There are behavioral concerns
- A child needs permission to participate in a school activity
Letting teachers and administrators know whom they should contact in these situations can prevent confusion and conflict.
Setting new boundaries
The school year can mean earlier curfews, setting aside time for homework and restricting screen time. Divorced parents will want to discuss these new boundaries.
It can be easier to enforce them uniformly if you are on the same page, regardless of who has custody. If parents disagree on school-related rules, you may need to parallel parent, setting and enforcing the rules you have for your child without consulting your ex.
Starting on the right foot
A new school year can be exciting, stressful and sometimes overwhelming for kids and parents alike – especially after a recent parental divorce. However, taking these preparations can make this transition easier and smoother for everyone.