7 Ways to Be a Better Coparent During the School Year

Sep 14, 2020 by

Whether you’re a recently divorced family or you’ve been in the game for a while now, every new school year can bring about its own challenges. The kids are getting older, entering new classrooms and have all new activities and requirements, which means you may need to rearrange some of your expectations when it comes to everyone’s role this coming fall.

If you and your ex already have a good routine going, this could be your chance to tighten up all of your lose ends. If things are still adjusting, you can work together to make sure your kids are the the top priority and that they’re getting everything they need and more this school year. Coparenting isn’t always easy, because parenting isn’t easy. But you have a teammate who loves your kid just as much as you do. Together, you’ll be unstoppable. 

1. Don’t Talk Through Your Child

Okay, so even if you love the same child boatloads, you may not like to talk with them constantly. That being said, talking through your child isn’t a good move for anyone involved. Saying “tell your mother this” or “remind your dad we have that tomorrow” can create fragmented communication, place extra stress on your child and sometimes more crucially, it often means things get lost. Kids are forgetful beings, even if you have a responsible teen in the mix. Even if it’s just something small, it’s best to contact the other parent directly.

2. Keep Lines of Communication Open

Working out the little details of life is much easier when you talk on a regular basis and have consistent means of communication. Having a regular stream of text messages, a school related email chain or even weekly or biweekly check-ins can be a great tool for making the family unit function as best as possible. It’s even better if you can have your communication in writing — that way, you can both refer back to it when you need to.

3. Tackle Homework Help Based on Your Skills

One of the blessings two-household kids have in their lives is a set of parents with diverse strengths and interests to turn to when they need things. One parent can’t do all the activity anchoring and homework help. Maybe you’re better at math and science and your ex is much better at English and spelling. Lean into those skills. That way, your kids get a more well-rounded educational experience that follows them everywhere. There won’t be an attitude of “at dad’s house we don’t do homework” or “at mom’s house we don’t get to play soccer” because each place will offer different opportunities for growth.

4. Attend School Events Together

Your kids love you both, and they want your support from all angles. Plus, you both want to catch that talent show or hockey game to see your awesome kids strut their stuff. Attending events together can make your kids feel entirely loved and supported from all angles, and it ensures that neither parent feels left out of the loop. 

5. Or Use School Events to Give Each Other a Break

On the flip side, you can split the difference with less crucial events so neither party has to tackle everything alone. Nobody says you need to be at every girl scouts meeting, every bake sale and every single PTA meeting. That stuff can get exhausting. However, when the tasks are shared between two fully loving, involved and supportive parents, you can both feel fully recharged and present when you do attend the important stuff.

6. Share a Calendar or Schedule

The next step up from having your communication in writing is employing an effortless system of scheduling so nobody has to go out of their way to keep track of the other household’s events, pick-ups and drop-offs or shared events. There are apps that work for this, as they’re specifically designed for coparenting, but if nobody is too techy in your family, you can always go with Google calendar. 

7. Talk About Money

Money is often a difficult conversation for couples or exes, but after going through all the hoops of divorce, you may both be just a bit more comfortable with it by now. Let’s face it — school can be expensive. All the backpacks, pencils, markers, new clothes and activity fees can start to stack up, and expecting one parent to foot the whole bill is presumptuous to say the least. Discuss how the split of dollars and cents will go. Maybe one parent makes a bit more and can chip in extra, or one parent insists on specific supplies that they’re willing to pay for. Work it out however you need, but make sure you talk about it.

Ready to Learn

Parenting is a learning experience, whether you’re married or tackling the job from two different households. But when you’re both dedicated to raising your kids with love and ensuring their quality of education, you’ll work out a way to tackle this school year smoothly. 

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