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Co-Parenting & Back to School

Tips for navigating back to school with your co-parent.

Back to school comes with a lot of excitement for children and families. To make the most of this time, it is beneficial for parents in joint custody situations to discuss how they will navigate the school year. This can help co-parents avoid potential miscommunications and conflicts.

The school year takes a lot of planning and coordination for any family

What back to school supplies does your child need? What will their designated bedtime be? How will your child get to school? Will they buy lunch or take lunch? How much will your child need to study? What extracurricular activities will they be involved in?
There are many things to consider, discuss, and plan. People in shared parenting situations are faced with all these same questions, plus the added complication of coordinating with a person or persons outside of their family unit.
Children running to school bus

There are several ways to make the back-to-school season easier on you, your co-parent, and your child

  • Discuss your child’s school supply list. This will help you and your co-parent organize what is needed and who will buy what. It can be beneficial for co-parents to estimate what each item will cost, set a budget together, and split the cost. This way, both parents are aware of how much is being spent and can be kept accountable to contribute equally.  
  • Agree on a bedtime. It is beneficial for your child to have the same bedtime at both households. This helps keep their routine consistent and easier to follow. 
  • Coordinate transportation needs. Parents in joint custody situations should be on the same page with how their child will get to and from school and extracurricular activities. It is important for both parents to be aware of their child’s carpool schedule or bus route. This will help co-parents if an emergency arises.  
  • Set school meal guidelines. This is helpful in keeping your child’s diet consistent and balanced. You and your co-parent should take time to discuss any dietary needs or restrictions before planning meals. It is also beneficial to agree on whether your child will take lunch, buy lunch, or both. Again, this keeps consistency for your child and helps you and your co-parent plan for expenses.  
  • Talk about study routines. In a shared parenting situation, it is important for both parents to be aware of what subjects their child is studying and how they are performing. This way, co-parents can help their child develop healthy study habits and stay on track with their schoolwork between homes.  
  • Plan extracurricular activities. You and your co-parent should agree on what extracurriculars your child will be involved in to help avoid conflict. You should also take time to make a schedule of activities so you know where your child will be and when. This will also help with your transportation plans.  
  • Share special moments. Parents in joint custody situations are not always able to be with their child when they want to be. Maybe your child is scheduled to be with your co-parent on the first day of school. Your co-parent can share this special day with you through messages, calls, photos, and videos. For this to happen, it is important for co-parents to discuss situations like these and how they will be handled.  

Communication and coordination between co-parents is beneficial to your child’s back to school success

If you and your co-parent are struggling with either of these, consider using TalkingParents. Our service includes Accountable Calling and Secure Messaging so co-parents can easily communicate throughout the day. We also offer Accountable Payments for co-parents to track and manage expenses. TalkingParents even has a shared calendar feature so both parents can keep track of their child’s schedule.

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