Back-to-school season is a pretty crazy time for all families. There is a rush to buy supplies, new clothes, and organize class schedules to make sure the children are ready to return to class.
If your family is dealing with a new arrangement after a divorce, this time of year is even more hectic than normal.
Here are a few tips for divorced dads to help get their kids back into routine for the new school year while also helping them cope with the divorce transition.
Notify your children’s teachers
Divorce is personal and understandably you don’t want just anyone to know details about how your marriage didn’t work out. However, it is a good idea to notify your kids’ teachers that they are adjusting to a new living situation at home.
A VitalSmarts survey found that 94% of teachers said they think it’s important for parents to tell them of a divorce, but just 23% of divorcing parents in the same survey said they revealed that information. That lack of communication can negatively affect your child’s performance in class.
You don’t have to go into details, but notify the school’s teachers and counselors so that they’re on the lookout for any unusual behavior or potential disciplinary issues from your child.
Establish a routine and stick to it
The best way to establish stability is by developing a steady routine that you can stick to day in and day out.
Set aside specific times each night that your child must devote to homework. Eat dinner at the same time each evening. And while it’s great for your kids to be involved in extra-curricular activities, make sure they don’t overcommit and spread themselves too thin.
You’ll also need to set up a personal routine to help you manage your time. For example, there might be days you need to adjust your work schedule because you have to pick the kids up after softball practice. It’s a good idea to get as much of this planned out as possible to avoid unneeded stress once the school year gets going.
Work with your ex
It might not be easy, but you need to do your best to get along with your ex-spouse as you each try to co-parent.
Everyone’s situation is different, but it’s important that you work out who is going to help out with homework, who is attending parent-teacher conferences, etc.
Try to be flexible. Maybe there’s a day when your ex needs you to pick the kids up after school even though it’s not your day. Be civil and help her out. Hopefully, she’ll return the favor when you find yourself in a bind.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to simply be as involved as possible in your children’s lives.
Make sure you ask them about their day and find out if there are any subjects they’re struggling with. Communicate with their teachers. Attend as many school meetings and extra-curricular activities as possible.
These are all things you naturally want to do because of how much your kids mean to you. When they see how much you care, it’s going to make a difference and will help them tremendously as they adjust to the new school routine.