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Back to school time: 3 key things divorced parents can do

When parents get divorced, everyone in the family is affected in a different way. For people with school-age children, a primary concern is making sure that kids are able to keep to their routines as closely as possible. While children are incredibly adaptable, sometimes much more than adults often realize, major disruptions to their family situation can have a ripple effect on other aspects of their lives, such as success in school.

All over Alabama, stores are turning their displays to back-to-school themes. While the calendar tells us it’s still the middle of summer, make no mistake: a new school year is right around the corner. And for kids who are entering their first autumn with divorced parents, this school year comes with unprecedented change.

Most parents will say that there is no “good time” to get divorced when it comes to their children. However, there are some crucial issues to keep in mind when a family transition coincides with the return of the school year.

Focus on consistency

Child sharing plans that may have had some leeway during the summer need to be firmed up. The last thing your child needs is to be dropped off at school without a crucial item (a backpack, musical instrument, weather-appropriate clothing) that is at the other parent’s house. Keeping up with a routine can minimize these oversights.

Focus on communication

A driving factor in many divorces is poor communication. While improving dialog might be too late for the marriage, it can still be beneficial. Keeping online calendars or scheduling tools allows each parent, and older children, the ability to make updates to important events that everyone can see. Even if you forget to tell your ex-spouse directly about an upcoming choir recital, soccer game or work obligation, it will be on everyone’s calendar.

Additionally, it never hurts to let your children’s teachers, counselors or other school officials know about your family’s changes and how it’s been affecting your kids. If educators are armed with this knowledge, they can better help your children with the adjustments that they are having to undergo.

Focus on the kids

Just as communication issues can still affect people after a divorce, so too can financial ones. Being honest and upfront about shared expenses can prevent lingering bad feelings from boiling over – and negatively affecting your children. Likewise, while it may be tempting to vent to your kids or gripe about your ex-spouse, this can only increase anxiety and distrust. Remember that your children didn’t ask to be put in this position, so you owe it to them to make their lives as happy and worry-free as you can.

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