The end of summer can be sad, especially for children. It often brings cooler weather, earlier bed times, and of course, school. A new school year brings about a lot of changes that can be both exciting and scary. A new classroom, new friends, new teachers, and even an entirely new school can make even the bravest kids feel nervous.
While the prospect of a new school year may feel daunting to a lot of kids, parents are also experiencing similar feelings of anxiety. However, parents who went through a separation or divorce during the summer may be feeling even more anxious about this new school year. After a tough summer for their family, children face new difficulties that they may not be sure how to handle. At the same time, this is the first school year that the parents will have to navigate post-divorce or separation, and this can be quite a challenge if they don’t prepare for it. In this situation, parents should employ strategies to help make the transition into this new school year as smooth as possible for everyone involved. To prepare for the new academic year, here are five new school year tips for divorced or separated parents.
Talk To The Teachers
Children often learn who their new teachers will be a few weeks before the new school year begins. These teachers don’t know anything about what is going on in your child’s life, and you can’t assume for them to understand without having a little knowledge of the situation. Talk to each of your child’s teachers to let them know what has been going on with your family. Let the teachers know how your child has been dealing with it throughout the summer; this is especially important if your child has had a difficult time emotionally. Passing along this knowledge before school starts will help the teacher get to know your child better, to know where any issues may stem from, and to offer better support throughout the school year.
Coordinate Shopping Plans
Shopping before a new school year is a tradition for so many families. Beyond just buying new crayons and notebooks, some parents buy their children new backpacks, clothing, shoes, and many other things each year. For separated or divorced parents, it’s often important to coordinate how you will share the responsibility of shopping for school supplies. Instead of one parent being dealt the entire responsibility of school supply shopping, consider dividing the shopping between both parents. One parent can shop with their child for the supplies they need for school, while the other parent could cover the cost of new school clothes. Also, it might be a good idea to buy a few supplies to each have at each home like extra crayons, pencils, and socks. These little items can be easily misplaced and aren’t worth arguing over with the other parent over, so having extras may come in handy.
Get On Top Of The Schedule
Even for young kids, school schedules can get busy very quickly. On top of simply getting your kids to and from school, parents need to plan for how to deal with extracurricular activities, how to attend functions like school fairs and plays, and more. As soon as you start to learn about what’s on your child’s agenda for the school year, get it written down. Using a shared online calendar, both parents can be sure that they are keeping up with the same agenda. This will also give you a chance to see how your child’s school schedule will work into your established parenting schedule. The OurFamilyWizard calendar has tools to keep both parents updated on their child’s throughout the entire school year. It even has a space for parents to input the details of their child’s class schedule as well as upload copies of homework, permission slips, report cards, and anything else related to school. These tools help keep parents connected about what their child is studying and how they are performing this school year.
Prepare Your Kids Together
For a lot of kids, a new school year isn’t something they can just fall into without need time to prepare beforehand. Each parent should do their part in preparing their children for the year ahead. Commit to getting your child to wake up and go to bed a bit earlier each day starting a few weeks before the new school year. Set aside time for your child to read and brush up on the things they learned the year before; this will help to get them ready for the academic challenges they face this year. On top of preparing them for the new school and studies, the way that parents talk to their child about school can also help to prepare them. Always keep the topic of school a positive one. If your child starts to feel down about going back, let them know it’s okay to be scared and assure them that it will be a good experience.
Open Lines Of Communication
There’s a lot that parents will need to discuss as their child heads into a new school year. Discussing each of the aforementioned points is valuable in order to make the school prep process run as smoothly as possible. As the school year gets going, it will also be important for parents to remain in contact in order to stay updated on their child’s progress. For parents already using OurFamilyWizard to coordinate the school schedule and share information, they can continue to use these tools to stay connected. Parents can share journal entries to document the details of any incidents that take place at school, note what their child ate at school each day, and more. As field trips and other school events come up that include a cost, parents can use the expense tracking tools in their account to record each cost and request reimbursements between each other, if necessary. All in all, having a means of communication that keeps your school-related conversations and other information available to each parent is invaluable for separated or divorced parents.
Getting children ready for a new school year shouldn’t be made any more complicated or difficult due to parental conflict or poor communication. Making a commitment to stay connected with your child’s other parent and to work together to make this process as smooth as possible can make all the difference for you both and your child.