With some kids already in school, others getting ready to start, and health a top concern, it’s important to prepare for the unique challenges this school year may present—especially to co-parents.
Back-to-school prep is stressful as it is, let alone for two-household families. Even if you’ve had a solid parenting plan in place with your ex, these unprecedented times of COVID-19 may bring about new issues you’ll have to work through.
As we look ahead to the 2020-2021 school year, here’s what you and your ex should consider in regard to shared parenting and COVID-19:
Key Considerations for Back-to-School in the Time of Coronavirus
Don’t let the year get ahead of you. With proper forethought and planning, you can avoid some hiccups and enjoy a smoother school year for you, your ex, and your child.
Review Your Co-Parenting Plan
Now is an important moment to review the parenting agreement or order you and your ex have been reliant on. Since it’s highly likely that you’ll run into new challenges in this school year, it’s the perfect time to think ahead and try to address those challenges before they arise.
For some families, they’re considering how virtual learning will shape their parenting schedule. For others, they’re working around in-school attendance one or two days a week. Many people are also learning how to make it work while working from home and homeschooling their children.
To keep communication open between parents, consider sharing an electronic calendar that you both can reference to clarify where the children are, when, and what each parent’s upcoming responsibilities are.
Get the Kids Involved in the Conversation
Many parents are facing health-related concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the new arrangements schools are making to best serve their students during this strange time. It’s important to have honest, age-appropriate conversations with your little one about safety expectations, changes to their school day, and how to keep one other healthy. If you’re not sure where to start, try referencing these articles by the CDC or PBS on this exact topic.
Maintain School Resource Access in Both Households
If your family is one of the many facing remote or partially remote learning, maintaining access to all relevant school resources in both households is critical. Schools and teachers will be relying on parents to facilitate communication, aid in turning in assignments, and keeping their kids on the ball when it comes to their virtual learning schedule. Before the school year gets too far ahead, be sure that both you and your ex have full access to any online portals, homework assignments, school records, and school contact information.
Update Your Emergency Contact Info
Now is the perfect time to check over your children’s emergency contact information and make any updates as needed. If you’ll both be sharing the load of school responsibilities, be sure to have both parents listed as emergency contacts. Given the possibility of positive COVID-19 test results from someone at your child’s school, you’ll want the school to be able to reach you easily.
Think Ahead For Back-to-School Expenses
Back-to-school shopping might also be looking a bit different this year. Rather than a new backpack and lunch box, a virtual learner might instead need an at-home desk, computer, earphones, or printer. Double check that your student will have access to the resources they need at both households so they never miss a beat.
Try Using an App to Improve Organization
Luckily, we live in a time where technology can make things a bit easier on us. There are many apps that can help keep you organized and in close communication with your ex and your child, no matter what household they’re at. Google Calendars, Zoom, and apps like Our Family Wizard can all help to lighten your load.
We’re All In This Together
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the new changes, take a deep breath and remember you’re not alone in this. Parents around the world are facing all of this for the first time, together. All you can do is take things one day at a time. Eventually, you and your ex will find your rhythm with the new school year as you adjust to the changes COVID-19 has brought about.
If you’re struggling to adjust to this ‘next normal,’ visit the Natalie Baird Mediations blog for more helpful tips for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re balancing a divorce, school, and Coronavirus complications, you can simplify your divorce process through virtual mediation. Contact our collaborative divorce attorneys and mediation experts to schedule a virtual session today.