While the weather shows little sign of changing anytime soon, summer vacation is drawing to a close for children throughout the United States, as well as here in Northern Illinois. In a few short weeks, school will be back in session, and long days of leisure will be a fading memory. Back-to-school time can be stressful and chaotic for any family, but is often even more challenging for families who have been fractured by divorce. If you are a divorced parent, there are a few things you can do to help make the transitional period easier for yourself and your children.
Communicate and Discuss Schedules
Regardless of your relationship with the other parent, it is important for you to be able to exchange pertinent information about your child’s education. Depending upon the parental responsibilities you have been allocated, you may or may not have the authority to make decisions about your child’s schooling, but you should still be prepared to help and offer support whenever possible. Work together with the other parent in deciding how you may attend orientations, open houses, parent-teacher conferences, and other school events. If you can put your differences aside and attend together, do so. If being in the same room is too difficult, plan to go at different times. Your child will benefit from having both parents fully invested in the educational process.
Plan for Two Homes
As you and the other parent start shopping for school supplies and clothes, you will probably want to buy more than you originally planned. Your child should have everything that he or she needs to do homework every night, whether he or she is at your house or that of the other parent. This could mean buying extra pencils, pens, notebooks, and other supplies, as well as providing a desk or table in a quiet room that is conducive to studying. For certain long-term projects, your child may need to bring work back and forth, but, in general, you can reduce stress and anxiety for him or her by providing the basics.
Planning for back-to-school in two homes should also include the development of consistent rules. You should work closely with the other parent to create expectations for your child that apply in both houses. Set a time for doing homework, as well as consequences for not doing it. Develop a bedtime and morning routine on which your child can rely every day. Keep your child up to date as well. Let him or her know in advance which of you will be picking him or her up after school on a given day. Doing so can minimize confusion and uncertainty that is common among children of divorce.
We Can Help
Creating a plan for post-divorce parenting can be challenging, but a qualified legal professional can provide guidance and advice. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney for help with your parenting plan today. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free, confidential consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C..