How divorced parents can help a child succeed this school year

As the nights grow cooler and the days shorter, school-aged children in and around Peoria, Illinois are heading back to school. This time of year can be difficult for both parents and children as days are jam packed with learning, socializing, after-school activities and homework. For divorcing or recently divorced parents, back-to-school time presents new challenges as both they and their child attempt to adjust to school-related and child custody-related changes.

For moms and dads still embroiled in the divorce process, a child’s return to school can be an especially chaotic and difficult time. For the sake of a shared child, it’s imperative that divorcing or divorced parents set aside their personal differences and vow to communicate effectively and work together to help a child succeed in school.

Being on the same page with regard to before and after school schedules is important to helping a child feel secure and confident. Parents, therefore, must work together to both determine and stick to set schedules related to when a child eats, does homework, plays or socializes and goes to bed. Consistency in scheduling helps a child maintain normalcy and balance regardless of whether he or she is at mom’s house or dad’s house.

Parents also need to work together to address certain child-related school matters. For example, will both parents attend teacher-parent conferences? What about other school activities and related sporting events? Who will care for a child if he or she is home sick from school or doesn’t have school? It’s best to be proactive and address these types of scenarios well in advance of when they occur. It’s also wise to have agreed upon terms written down and signed by each parent to avoid future conflict.

Divorcing or divorced parents face many unique challenges during the school year. While disagreements with an ex are likely to occur, it’s important that parents always consider, communicate and act with a child’s best interests in mind.

Source:  Great Schools, “Kids, divorce, and school success,” 2014

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