8 Tips for Navigating Back-to-School with Your Co-Parent

Back-to-school is an important time to make sure that you and your ex-co-parent effectively to help your child succeed. Divorce can present some different challenges, but as parents, you can work together in the best interest of your child.

Read our 8 tips to help make back-to-school a smooth transition for everyone involved.

How to Navigate Back-to-School with Your Partner

1. Coordinate Ahead of Time

Talk with your ex about how you will handle school events, parent-teacher conferences, extracurricular activities, and more. If you can coordinate ahead of time, you can avoid conflict and miscommunication during the school year.

You should also discuss things like pick-ups, drop-offs, emergency situations, and inclement weather. These are all things that can cause unneeded stress and disagreement when everyone is not on the same page.

2. Split the Cost of School Supplies

Splitting the cost of school supplies is a good idea because then one parent doesn’t feel like they are doing more than the other. While this is a great goodwill gesture, it is your personal decision whether you want to split the cost if you are already paying child support.

Offering to pay for half the supplies gives you the chance to take an active role in the back-to-school preparation. If you do go this route, you’ll want to coordinate with your ex so you’re not buying the same items.

3. Plan to Attend Events

If both of you can attend school events, it’s important to attend them even when the other parent will be there. This shows your child you are united when it comes to their education. Children like to see both parents at their school events to show their support.

Even if you and your ex don’t get along, plan to attend the events, but sit separately. As long as you’re both there, your child will know and appreciate that. Be sure not to get into any arguments when you’re both attending a school event. Everyone can remain civil for a few hours.

4. Inform the School About Your Custody Arrangement

Make sure the school is aware of your custody agreement. It will let the child know who to call if there is an emergency, and who is allowed to pick up your child if they’re sick. This can help to avoid awkward situations during the school year. There should be no confusion who is allowed to pick up your child and who is not.

5. Create a Shared Calendar

Whether there is one child or multiple children, having a shared calendar can help to make sure everyone is on the same page. This way, you and your ex will know where your child needs to be and what is going on. Several apps are available to make this easy and allow you to have the information at your fingertips when you need it.

Some of the best shared calendar applications include:

      • Google Calendar
      • Outlook
      • Calendly
      • Taskworld
      • OurFamilyWizard
      • Cozi

Whichever type of shared calendar you choose, be sure both parents are diligent about updating it. Without constant updates, the calendar is useless.

6. Share the Parenting Workload

Many times, in divorce situations, one parent is labeled the “fun parent” while the other one deals with schoolwork and all of the not-so-fun stuff. Try to split the responsibilities evenly. If your child isn’t doing well in school and needs extra help, both parents should be involved. The same goes for fun after-school activities. Both parents should be able to take part in those too.

7. Be on the Same Page for Bedtime

If your custody arrangement has your child splitting the week at both parents’ homes, you’ll want to be consistent with bedtime and other routines. Your child will benefit from the consistency, and it will make their lives much easier.

8. Ensure your child has what they need in both homes

If your child is going to be spending time at both homes after school, be sure that they have what they need. This includes school supplies, laptops, tablets, or anything else to be successful educationally. Your child shouldn’t have to wait until they get to the other parent’s home to have what they need to complete their assignments.

To have a successful school year, try to be on the same page as your ex as much as possible. Also, try not to argue about school-related items that you and your ex may not agree on in front of your child. You can have these types of discussions when your child is not around. You don’t want to engage in any behavior that can harm your child’s school success.

When it comes to navigating back to school, remember to always keep your child’s best interests in mind. This will not only help them succeed but work towards maintaining positive relationships for both you and your child.