The beginning of the school year means new teacher(s), new classmates, waking up earlier and more changes for most kids. Many kids in two-home families have an added adjustment to make. They have to adjust to their parenting plans changing back to the school year schedule. As we discussed previously on this blog, many families choose to have distinct residential schedules for the months that the kids are in school and the months that they are on summer vacation.
In our years working in family law, we have come across some valuable tips for parents helping their kids adjust to their new schedules. It might be helpful to create a visual calendar that your kids can look at to determine where they will be on any given day. This is especially helpful if the children are making frequent transfers throughout the week. Some kids (especially younger ones) might benefit from a note being pinned to their backpack reminding them where to go after school. Other families (and teachers) have told us it is helpful for unmarried parents to both come (assuming this doesn’t conflict with any court orders) to open houses and/or meet-and-greets. Use these visits as a chance to make the teacher aware of your child’s living situation. The teacher may be willing to send home two sets of class notes, and add both parents to his/her email list. This helps your child because both parents being aware of what’s going on at school allows both parents to be actively involved in their child’s education.
Please let us know if you would like to discuss your parenting plan with a family law attorney.