Around this time of year parents are focused on “Back To School”. Whether it’s buying school supplies, getting annual check ups or signing kids up for sports, this tends to be a stressful time of year for children and parents alike.
Now throw into the mix, newly divorced parents and children of divorce, it gets much more complicated. Not only is everyone dealing with the usual back to school madness, but now there’s issues that have never been dealt with before. For kids who’s parents divorced over the summer it’s a whole new world. Their homes may have changed, they are now splitting time between two homes, their close friends may be living further away and they may have even changed schools. Whatever the changes are, rest assured that their once familiar territory has now become uncharted waters that will require much navigation on their part which may lead to tremendous stress.
As for parents, they may be going through similar changes in homes, neighbors that they once knew and relied on are now strangers and the stresses of being a single parent can be overwhelming. Juggling careers, children schedules and caring for a home which once was shared between two is now a big job for one.
Although all of these changes are overwhelming for both kids and newly divorced parents, several steps can be taken to make the transition a smooth one that will eventually lead to much brighter days for everyone.
- Sit down with your children before school starts and explain what their new daily schedules will be. Kids will feel more secure when they know what to expect. Parents will feel more at ease having a plan.
- If you haven’t already initiated a shared Parenting Time Calendar for the kids to see, this would be a good time. Post it on the refrigerator so it’s in clear view.
- Create a Google shared calendar for Co Parenting with the kids schedule on it so both parents are in the loop. The less surprises the easier the transition.
- Whether new schools are in the future or not, inform all teachers and counselors of the new living arrangements.
- If you have moved into a new neighborhood, host a get together with neighbors so everyone can get to know each other. Kids make friends fast and will make the first day of school easier if they are familiar with some other kids in school.
- Keep open communication with your kids and your ex. It’s so important to focus on the children and make sure that they are ok.
- Be flexible with your ex. Remember this is new territory for everyone. It may take some time to work out the kinks. It’s a time to try and put past behind you and move forward as positively as possible. We can’t change the past, we can only look to the future.
Roseann Vanella is a Professional Family Mediator and Founder of Advanced Mediation Solutions located in Cherry Hill, NJ. She also hosts a weekly radio show, Family Affairs, on WTER every Thursday at 2:30pm EST.