It is hard to believe, but summer is almost over and school will soon be back in session.
Back-to-school season is a chaotic time for all families, and it is further complicated for families coping with a divorce.
Here are some tips for divorced dads to help make the transition back to school as smooth as possible.
Organize a daily routine for your children.
Coming up with a clear, consistent schedule that you, your child and your ex agree on is probably the single most important thing you can do to make this transition a smooth one. It creates stability and helps eliminate anxiety out of everyone’s daily routines.
Establish a morning routine and make sure your children know when they need to wake up and when they need to leave to get to school on time. Do the same thing for after school and block off time for homework, activities, dinner, and bedtime.
Reestablish goals and expectations.
This might be the first school year that your children are dealing with this new living arrangement, so it is a good idea to sit down with them and make sure they understand what is expected of them from and academic and behavioral standpoint.
Allow them input on what they think they can accomplish. What kind of grades are they capable of making? What is an appropriate bed time? How many extracurricular activities should they get involved in?
It could also be beneficial to set up a rewards system for when they reach their goals. Research shows rewards are also much more effective than consequences and punishment.
Work out your own schedule.
Back to school also means a lot of additional responsibility for you as you have to make sure your kids get up and make it to and from school. You’ll also likely have many extracurricular activities like ball games and recitals to attend.
All that will be thrown on top of your typical day-to-day work and personal responsibilities.
Determine what your priorities are each day. What day do you need to buy groceries? Are there days you need to adjust your work schedule so you can pick up the kids from soccer practice?
Try to sort out as many of these dilemmas as possible before the school year starts.
Communicate with your ex.
More than likely, your ex-spouse is still in the picture and staying on the same page with them can go a long ways to making the school year less stressful.
Make sure you are clear about who is supposed to pick up the kids and when. It is also a good idea to figure out who is expected to help with homework and attend school meetings.
This can be challenging, depending on your relationship with your ex, but here are some tips for creating a harmonious schedule for the new school year.
Let the school know.
Although you don’t need to share specific details of your divorce, it is a good idea to let school administrators, counselors and teachers know that your children are dealing with a new living situation.
Not only can they be on the lookout for your children acting abnormally, but counselors can also provide a listening ear for them outside of Dad and Mom.
It is especially important that your children see you involved with what is going on at school.
Talk with their teachers to stay updated on how they’re doing. This can help you nip any academic or behavioral problems in the bud before they become a bigger problem.
You also should attend as many extracurricular activities and school meetings as possible.