Back-To-School: Taking Stock
As kids return to school this fall, it may be a good time to evaluate how your parenting time schedule and structure is working. How’s the co-parenting relationship weathering this seasonal and scheduling change?
While a Judgment of Divorce or Parenting Time Order renders a certain schedule or structure to co-parenting, both parents are the ultimate architects of their family, so if it’s not working, you can decide together to make changes if you both agree.
The mark of great co-parenting is being flexible enough to accommodate your children’s needs from year to year, season to season.
A great way to determine what is best for your children is to assess how the current parenting schedule worked for them last school year. Switching schools, moving up to middle school or high school, even taking on a new team sport can mean new start and end times, new extracurricular activities, new homework demands and a new practice schedule, all of which could call for a different overnight situation to guarantee students’ success.
Parents need to talk to one another. Just because your marriage ended doesn’t mean your co-parenting ended. It never does! You always want to keep your eye on what is truly best for the kids. And hopefully, as time passes, divorced spouses can heal the anger and wounds of the divorce and start to respect one another enough to work together collegially.
A strong parent needs to be ok with switching things up if it’s better for the kids. If one parent lives closer to a new school, consider arranging for the kids to stay with that parent on school nights.
To make sure a parent doesn’t lose out on time with the kids, alter school breaks or weekend time, or even holiday distribution, to even it out. The sky’s the limit when it comes to parenting time possibilities. Whatever you can dream up and live with, you can do. And if you’re in agreement, the kids will handle any changes well.
Some children do better sleeping in the same bed every night. It’s a strong parent who can agree to that, even if it means less overnight time with that child for a while. Parenting success comes from quality of time together, not quantity. And if you’re truly working together, you can figure out additional time somewhere else to even things out.