With Labor Day just this past weekend, it's time to start wrapping up summer fun and begin the transition back into the academic school year. Back to school for your child may mean an increase in communication between you and you're ex. Implementing a structured up to date parenting plan will help the two of you avoid any unexpected surprises and disputes in the future, as well as making this transition stress free for your child. It would be wise to discuss what the child is going to need for school, extracurricular activities, homework standards, parent teacher conferences, etc.
Share the shopping with your ex. Communicating beforehand will avoid duplicates, and allow the expenses to be divided equally. Either Dad will take care of everything for daughter and mother will take care of everything for son, or Dad will cover school supplies and Mom will cover clothes shopping, whichever works for you. Keep in mind that it may be a smart idea to have certain school necessities available in both households if the child travels back and forth.
The homework rules should be consistent between the two households to avoid comments such as, "Dad always lets me play at his house instead of doing my homework". Use homework time as an opportunity to sit down and spend quality time with your child, as well as keeping them on track with their education. To avoid interruptions during parenting time, have a set schedule planned that you will drop the child off at.
Meeting with your child's teacher to inform him/her on the family dynamics is important in the idea that both parents are aware of any important dates, school events, projects, and contact information for both parents. Discuss with your ex who will attend Parent Teacher conferences. Whether you both attend, or Mom goes to sons and Dad goes to daughters, or you agree that you will or will not bring a step-parent.
Modifying your parenting plan should come with the growth of your child. In high school, your child may become involved in more extracurricular activities, and committed to sports, which could interfere in old parenting schedules. Although you may not want to be at the same place as your ex, it is important for both parents to be able to attend such events for your child so that he or she feels the love and support coming from both sides.
In order to help make this process a bit more helpful, be aware of phone applications available to help organize your child's needs and schedules between two parents. There is an application available for IPhones called "Co-Parenting" which allows you to input important contacts in case of emergency, a calendar for both parents to access and organize, and the ability to message amongst each other through the app. Visit our Resources Page to see other helpful apps we suggest for co-parenting.