If you’re a parent who is considering divorce or who is preparing to begin the process, you’re likely concerned about how this turn of events will affect your child. If your child has always enjoyed school and excelled there, you may be particularly disturbed by studies showing that children’s grades often suffer when their parents break up.
As parents, you and your soon-to-be ex can take steps to help ensure that this doesn’t happen to your child. A key step involves setting consistent expectations for your child across both of your households.
Consistent expectations across homes
Maybe you can do it informally at first – especially if you’re on the same page with what you expect for your child. However, it’s wise to codify expectations in your parenting plan once you draw it up. These expectations can include:
- Designating homework as a priority before screen time and other activities
- Sharing information about assignments and projects with your co-parent ahead of their parenting time
- Agreeing on corrective actions if your child doesn’t meet your expectations or their grades begin to suffer
- Ensuring that the school has your contact information and knows that it needs to send report cards and any school communications to both of you
- Participating in parent-teacher conferences together
- Committing that both of you will attend school events whenever possible – even if you don’t attend them together
Using a co-parenting app can help you communicate about and document your child’s educational needs, achievements and issues that warrant keeping an eye on. These apps can be particularly useful at times when it may be challenging to communicate directly with your co-parent without other issues getting in the way.
If you and your co-parent can agree on how school expenses (both large and small) will be divided and work out a temporary parenting time arrangement before the final one is codified, this can also minimize the issues that can get in the way of maintaining consistent educational expectations for your child. It will also demonstrate to your child that you remain a parenting team even though you’re no longer together.
Seeking experienced legal guidance as soon as possible can help you settle matters involving your child early and can help you to work with your co-parent to minimize disruptions to your child’s life at this time.