Most kids have begun their new school year, with the vast majority starting virtually or homeschool. For most parents, this isn’t how they pictured the new school year going, and for parents who are dealing with the already challenging nature of co-parenting, it can feel like complete chaos. Now kids are expected to be on their laptops, attending to school assignments while their parents do their best to juggle working from home or working away while their child is at home. How in the (bleep) are parents supposed to do this between two households? As divorce mediators, we have seen a lot of creative solutions, and we wanted to share them with you.
Shared Google Calendars
This is a common tactic for busy co-parents. Create a shared calendar between you and the other parent. Fill in assignments, activities, or other items that come up within the time the child is in your care. Try not to but this burden on just one parent. If you see something come up, plug it into the calendar to notify the other parent. Some parents have gone so far as to have a color-coding system for school versus extracurricular activities, sports, etc. You can get as creative as you want. Depending on the age of the child, share the calendar with them. It can help relieve some of the stress around their school day as well.
Dual School Supplies
If you are going to try and drag school supplies between two houses, you are setting yourself up for a disaster. Even though it is more expensive, try to have a set of the most basic school supplies at each house. That way, you aren’t having to call the other parent asking them to drop off “x, y, z” or making multiple trips back and forth so that they can finish a school assignment. When it comes to textbooks, many of them can be downloaded online. So check to make sure it isn’t available for free or for rent before making a trip to the other house.
Encourage everything to be scanned or saved and put into a shared folder (Dropbox, GoogleDrive, etc.) so assignments can be quickly passed back and forth between houses. In this day-in-age, practically anything can be put into cloud storage.
Be Patient with Teachers & The Other Parent
This is an impossible situation, so it is essential to give everyone some grace. You never know when you may need it too. The other parent may be a bit testy after a particularly challenging day. Please give them the benefit of the doubt. The teacher may not understand your current family situation, try to explain the best you can, and move forward.
Above all, you are doing your best. That is all you can do. We will get through this!
Need help figuring out a co-parenting plan for this fall? San Diego Family Mediation Center can help. Call (858) 736-2411 for a free consultation.