For many children, heading back to school means big changes are on the horizon, including a new classroom, new teachers, a new schedule and maybe even a new school.
However, if you went through a separation or divorce over the summer, you and your child may already have enough change as it is. These 5 tips may help you and your child ease into a new school year after divorce.
Talk to teachers
Not all families fit a traditional mold — and that’s okay. However, some teachers may make assumptions based in biases they aren’t aware of. For instance, some teachers may assume their student lives with mom if the parents are divorced. In fact, these teachers may even be assuming that the child has a mother, instead of two fathers.
Talking to your child’s teacher about what is happening at home will help the teacher understand your child’s behavior. It may also help you and your ex-spouse set expectations for handling permission forms, behavioral communications and parent-teacher conferences.
It may be tough to align your schedule with your ex-spouse’s schedule and your child’s schedule. A calendar sharing tool may be one way you can work with your ex-spouse to organize transportation for extracurricular activities, as well as who will attend school fairs, sports games, plays and other school functions.
Encourage their education
It’s not uncommon for children who do well in school to suddenly decline in performance after their parents separate. To avoid this, focus on encouraging your child’s education.
Schedule homework time every day and ask your child to share their homework with you. Offer to review the finished product or help out with questions. You can also take trips related to your child’s studies, read related bedtime stories, watch related movies and more.
Discuss the divorce
Remember that the end of the divorce shouldn’t be the end of the conversation. Check in with your child periodically to discuss how the change makes them feel. Teaching your child to express and accept negative feelings will help them learn to cope with difficult situations in the future.
If you have questions about modifying a custody arrangement and getting on with a divorce after separation, contact a family law attorney for help.