Even though it is still hot here in Riverside, teachers are getting their classrooms ready for school to begin, school supplies are being sold by the basketful and kids are wishing summer would last just a bit longer. How do you get your children ready for school in the midst of a divorce? Often parents try to shelter their children from the conflict but inevitably children are greatly impacted. Research shows that divorce can negatively impact a child's performance in school. Schools are often the first to notice the impact of divorce on a child.
While this may feel like a very private matter, it is good for you child's teacher and school counselor to understand the current circumstances of your family. Let them know how the child has been coping with the divorce and discuss how both of you want communication to operate from the teacher. This planning depends on your willingness to put aside your differences and talk about your children. If you can't do that, the teacher might have to conduct separate parent teach conferences, for example. If you and your spouse are in the divorce process, talk about your child's schedule and come up with a plan for picking up and dropping off. Have a system in place for checking homework and making sure the tools they need (textbooks, computer, etc) go with them between each home. Ideally you want the same expectations in both homes. Maybe your child comes home, has a snack and then works on their homework before they can play, or you have them rest and play for a while before homework needs to be completed.
Whatever you choose, if you can keep your schedule consistent, know that consistency reduces stress in your child. While your child may not really want the summer to be over, the routine of school might be helpful in coping with the stress at home. Mediation helps reduce the stress as well. Just as it is when any hurdle you may encounter through the divorce, compromise and working together will benefit your children in the long run. Stay cool and enjoy your final days of summer break!