Co-Parenting During the School Year for the Newly Divorced

Co-parenting can have its share of difficulties, especially if you’re newly divorced and headed into a new school year. New schedules, after-school activities, parent-teacher conferences, and sick days can put co-parenting skills to the test, even if you have an amicable relationship. Here are some topics you may want to discuss with your ex to manage school days:


Whether you co-parent every other week or a few days a week, make sure to get duplicate copies of all school documents. Both parents should be included on all types of correspondence including email lists, mailing lists, and online teacher sites. Trying to keep one household in sync with a school schedule can be trying at times, but combine two households and it can be a nightmare! Remembering an orthodontist appointment or team picture day is much easier with a combined calendar. If keeping a paper calendar isn’t feasible, try downloading a family calendar like the Cozi app. The app is interactive for all family members, so if a change in time or place occurs, one person can update while simultaneously alerting all family members.

Keep Teachers in the Loop

You may be very private with your personal life, but consider keeping teachers in the loop about your co-parenting schedule. If teachers are aware of custody schedule, it may help them pinpoint any issues that surface with homework or behavior. Even if you are co-parenting in peace, if one parent forgets an important date or field trip, it could make it difficult for everyone involved. Inform the administration office and teachers at the beginning of the school year that both parents wish to receive communication from the school at all times.

If co-parenting is in a high-conflict mode and there is stress in one household, a child could see their teacher as someone they could trust and talk to while going through a difficult time. Letting teachers know what’s going on will help them show some compassion and leniency when needed. 

(Sick) Days Like This

With school comes viruses. Formulate a plan to have in place for days when your child is sick or an emergency happens at the school. Some factors to consider: Will you rotate who picks up a sick child? Will it be based on who has custody that week? Is there a trusted friend or relative you both agree that could be called if either one of you is not available? Having a sick day/emergency plan in place before school starts will eliminate stress and anxiety when the call from school is received.

New Threads and Pencils

New clothes, shoes, and school supplies can impact a parent’s tight budget. Consider dividing the bill in half and decide who will take the children shopping. If one parent is in better financial shape and suggests taking on more financial responsibility, accept it. However, it’s also important not to blame the divorce or an ex for any financial woes. Keep the child’s interest at the forefront and refrain from talking about financial matters in front of children.

Left My Homework at Dad’s

No matter what the custody agreement schedule looks like, both parents should be on board about homework and bedtime routines if at all possible. A united front-end structure will help kids feel safe and secure. Furthermore, when education is valued, children have a more enriching experience and have academic success. Keep tabs on special projects that require research at home, and work together to make sure children have the resources and time to get them done. In addition, if one parent is a whiz at math, consider skyping or calling the other parent to get homework help. Again, putting personal feelings for your ex aside and placing your child’s best interests first also shows your child unity, love, and support. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences

It may not be high on your fun list, but consider meeting with the teacher together at the same time. This can provide some good insights for the teacher. Some children may use their divided living arrangements to excuse poor grades or forgotten homework, when in fact they could just be lazy. “My mom said my report was good enough,” or “I wasn’t at Dad’s yesterday so he couldn’t help me with my math.”

It’s easier for teachers to help when there are opposing views regarding your child’s needs or when a child could be telling tall tales at school. Plan your schedules so that you can both attend orientation/open house for the new school year and parent-teacher conferences.

Plays, Recitals, and Games, Oh My!

A recital or game may not fall on your week with your child, but when both parents attend, they’ll feel loved and cherished while you both simultaneously show your child that you value their education and special interests. Now if you can sit together, that’s just icing on the cake!

Co-parenting in a loving and nurturing manner is essential. Bickering parents can contribute to anxiety and depression, along with poor academic performance. The benefits of positive co-parenting far exceed any ill will you may have toward your ex.

How do you make co-parenting work during the school year? Share your advice and stories with us!

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