Ah… The end of summer -- or every parent’s favorite time of year.
That being said, the start of the new school year is also one of the most stressful periods for co-parents, with heightened anxiety, and financial pressure around almost every corner.
This might be your first school year as co-parents, or your child may be starting a new school. They could be stressing about which teacher they’ll have, whether they’ll be in the same class with their friends, or a variety of other things depending on the age group your child is currently in.
Next thing you know, they are lashing out because they don’t know any other way of responding to this stress. And that is precisely where your role as their parent fits in.
I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about. With cooperation and careful planning, you and your co-parent can ensure the school year starts smoothly.
Today, I’m coming to you with five great tips to help minimize anxiety for both you and the children, and start the year off with a bang.
1. Help your child establish their routine
Going back to school once the summer break is over isn’t easy for kids. Remember how you felt when you were a child!
During summer, they are pretty much free to do what they please with their day. They sleep in longer, they go to bed later, they don’t eat meals at the usual times, and they have little to no responsibility.
But do you know what makes this transition easier? A routine!
Help them establish a structure for their day. Let them know what their school day will look like, what the co-parenting schedule will look like, and how they will get to and from school.
This will not only help them mentally prepare for school, but it will also lessen the stress of the “unknown” by laying it all out for them transparently.
Oh, and here’s a pro tip: in the few weeks before school starts, start progressively tweaking their summer habits such as bedtime so that by the time school starts, they already have adopted the school routine.
2. Plan for back-to-school expenses
New school stationery, school clothes, bus passes, sneakers, backpacks, allowance are just some of the things that come to mind when discussing back-to-school expenses.
That being said, it’s highly likely that your child won’t be needing everything new each year.
Write down the things they need, create a budget, and talk to your co-parent - sharing these costs will be much easier on your both. You want to have the financials planned in advance instead of being blindsided by various expenses.
3. Make sure you get the necessary information from school
Get all the important information from school in advance: what class your child is in, which school materials they’ll need, which extracurriculars or sports are available, etc.
This is important so that your child doesn’t end up feeling confused or left out at school because you failed to prepare something in advance.
In addition to that, make sure that you give your school the necessary information. They should know that you’re co-parenting with your ex, generally, they should have both parents’ contact information, and keep both of you in the loop with the child’s progression at school.
4. Talk to them, see what they’re feeling
To build good rapport with your child, it’s crucial that you frequently ask them about their thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs -- and this is especially true for something that concerns them as much as school does.
Starting back to school is one of the most stressful time periods for the kid. Depending on the age group the child is in, they may start acting out in the weeks leading up to September, and many of those times, they may not even know why they’re acting out. This is when you should talk to them. That being said, it’s important to note here that you don’t have to invite the other co-parent. Add them as a figure, just don’t send them an invitation.
Make sure that you show them you care, understand and that you’re ready to help.
5. Let them enjoy summer until the very last day
The start of the school year may be close, but the summer isn’t over just yet, let them enjoy it.
How about an end of summer party? Celebrate it in your backyard or simply take them out for movies. Talk to them about the summer you’ve had, remind them of some fun times, show them that you cherish it. Summer is when the best memories for kids are made!
Back-to-school is stressful, but careful planning, cooperation with your co-parent, and putting in the effort to understand where your child is coming from will be more than enough to help you successfully manage it.
Make sure that you also look into co-parenting apps such as FamiliPay which can help simplify shared payments and calendar planning so that both co-parents are kept in the loop.
Start your 3-month free trial today and see these responsibilities become a piece of cake.