Even at the height of summer, fall is fast approaching. And with the season change comes the excitement of new class schedules, book lists, art supplies, soccer team tryouts, and all those exciting back-to-school adventures.
Of course, if you’re family has recently experienced a divorce or separation, the start of school presents some big changes for you and your child. You may be managing a recently-decided custody schedule, adjusting to a new living situation, and your child may even be getting used to a new school.
Here are some actionable ways you can make the start of the school year easier, less stressful, and more convenient for you, your co-parent, and your child.
Working the Communication Magic
One of the best things you can do at the start of the new year is to communicate with your co-parent, your child’s school, and of course, your child.
Stay in Touch With Your Co-Parent
You and your co-parent may have differences. You may even have a hard time looking each other in the eye.
However, you’re still on the same team… a team that’s rooting for your kids’ success.
You and your co-parent are both an integral part of your child’s success. That’s why it’s so important to communicate with your co-parent about school projects, schedules, and your child’s performance in school.
The Huffington Post recommends delegating who will take on which homework projects. And Offspring encourages parents to use an online calendar, “to share info about science project deadlines, volleyball practice, and when the money is due for pictures.”
Whether you use email, google docs, or one of Bonfami’s upcoming tools, keeping your co-parent informed will help you both work together for the benefit of your child.
Build Connections With Teachers
Your child’s teachers are some of the most impactful people in their lives. They’ll be there for your kid through thick and thin, day in and day out, so getting in the habit of frequent and healthy communication with teachers is key to your child’s success.
“You know your child’s learning style and you also know if there are any other issues going on that might be affecting their learning at school” says an article in Mathletics, “...ongoing communication with your child’s teacher is essential to make sure they can tailor their approach to your child while in class,” .
Let teachers and administrators know both parents’ phone numbers and email addresses. Keep communication open, sign up for every parent-teacher conference opportunity, and check in with your child’s teacher frequently.
Teachers are one of the most influential people in your child’s life. The more insight, information, and connection they have with your child, the more successful your child’s educational experience will be.
Be There For Your Child
Staying tuned in to your child’s emotions, ideas, and needs is integral at the start of school. The more you can be actively involved with your child - the better.
““Extensive research has shown that students achieve more in school when their parents are involved in their education,” says the Public School Review.
And research demonstrates that students are 81% more likely to graduate from high school if their parents express high hopes for their future and solid expectations for their performance in school.
Listen to your child’s experiences in school, stay curious about their struggles and triumphs, and to allow them to talk openly about their emotions and ideas. Remain available to help with assignments, offer advice, and attend important school events.
Your child will benefit from all the time you spend together, and this will help them adjust to any changes in the new school year.
This is a New Beginning
During a divorce or separation, it’s easy to feel like everything is ending. The start of school, however, is the perfect time to make a new beginning.
Embark on the adventure of back-to-school along with your child. Take this opportunity to begin again, in whatever shape that takes for you.
Summary of Part II: Part two of this series will talk about the importance of community at the start of a new school year.