It’s time for back to school!

I can’t help but think of the commercial from years ago where parents are happily whizzing by with shopping carts while “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays in the background.

Whether you love sending the kids back to school or you wished you had more time with them, this time of year can be hectic and full of stress. Even in households where both parents are still together, the back to school itch can take its toll on everyone!

If you’re divorced, there are a few things that can help with this transition and ensure your child has the support they need as they start a new school year.

Here are a few things to consider:

1.     Planning and scheduling
This is the best time to take a look at the calendar and create a plan. Mark down school breaks, teacher workdays, vacations, and weekends. Of course the plans can be fluid and may change, but setting up a calendar now and creating a plan ahead of time saves headaches down the road. As always, when everyone is on the same page, things will go smoother.

2.     Emergency contacts
Discuss with your ex how you’ll be dealing with emergencies. Are you the best contact or is your ex first on the list? What about other family members, friends, or neighbors? Understand how you’ll deal in emergencies if the school needs to call about your child and be sure to inform the school of your plan.

3.     Parent-Teacher communication
Be sure to tell the teacher how you’ll be handling communication from the classroom. Will you both be involved? Is your ex not around or doesn’t like to get involved? Are you going to attend events together or do you need separate meetings? It’s important to set the expectations early on so the teacher knows what’s going on in your child’s home life and he or she can maintain proper communication about your child.

4.     Communication with your ex
This is always a big one and here is no different. Don’t pass messages through your child. If you need your ex to do something, such as sign a consent form, then ask them yourself. Relying on your child to do this communicating puts an unfair burden on them and sends the message that you are putting them in the middle. 

5.     Creating comfort
This time of year can be stressful for children, especially if they are starting at a new school. With all of the to do lists to be done, it’s easy to forget that your child simply wants to feel safe. Look at ways that you can help them be comfortable whether they are in the classroom, at your house, or with your ex. One way is to create a sanctuary for them in their backpack – it’s the only thing that they have with them no matter where they go! Help them create a safe and comfortable space to ease them back into the school year.

As always, this is about focusing on your children. The back to school season creates new schedules, needs, and focuses. Be open and willing to communicate with your ex so you can both do what is necessary to ensure your child has the smoothest transition possible and their best school year yet!