Back to School After Divorce
Updated: Nov 22, 2021
Life, like time, moves forward regardless of what is going on in our lives. The process of divorce can be a long and drawn-out process and in the end, there is a long list of changes and transitions that have to be taken care of. Through it all, the kids continue to have their lives which mostly revolve around school. Back-to-school time can be a very exciting time for kids. They are looking forward to seeing their friends after the summer break. It can also be a very stressful time for kids with not knowing how their new teachers will be or what the work will be like. It can also be a stressful and expensive time for the parent, especially newly divorced parents.
There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your kids for getting back to school after a divorce.
Tell the School
It is important to let the school know about this major change in life. Some school systems have programs for kids of divorced families that they may be able to take advantage of. School teachers and counselors are also a great resource for families and kids. They are also very often a great outlet for kids who often feel comfortable talking to teachers and counselors. It is also important for school officials to look out for any related behavioral issues that need to be brought to the attention of the parents. It is possible that kids who are frustrated at home may start to act out in school.
School administrators, teachers and counselors should know some of the details of the divorce, including any custody issues or concerns they have about the kids. In the event that the divorce was contentious and there are ongoing custody issues, the school should know if they are able to release the child to the non-custodial parent.
Create a routine
When there is one parent at home, getting the kids to school and getting them home from school can be extremely difficult when that one parent has to work. Often, morning and afternoon routines vary from day to day based on work schedules and who will be responsible for the kids before and after school. This can create chaos and confusion for everyone involved. The more chaotic things become, the more important it is to have a routine for things. Make a calendar that clearly states what the plan is for each day of the week. This way everyone knows what is going to happen every day and be prepared for it in advance.
It is important to keep an open line of communication with your ex. Both parents may be part of the ballet of getting kids to school and getting them home. There are also things like homework, school functions, sports, after school activities, and parent/teacher meetings that both of you need to be a part of. If there is no proper communication, there will be issues and miscommunication. This can lead to being late for school, a missed pickup, or missing other activities which would cause the children to feel stress and anxiety. Whether you choose to directly communicate or use email or text, make sure the conversation is ongoing. Most importantly, even if you have issues with your ex, unless there are underlying issues of safety related to an ex, there is no reason for the children to be exposed to those issues.
Talk to your kids and listen to them
It is always important to talk to your kids. Even the smallest things can be a major part of their lives. During a major transition like a divorce, it is vital to talk to your kids and listen to what they say. You also have to listen to what they are not saying. They may not know how to communicate what they are feeling and it may come out in different ways, such as acting out or showing signs of stress. Talk to your kids. Also know when you may be over your head and consider the possibility that your kids may need to talk to a therapist. Most importantly, let the kids know they are loved and that they are not the reason for the divorce.
Parents often learn quite a lot about how their children are coping with divorce simply from letting them speak their minds. This will also give divorced parents a better idea for how to mentally, physically and emotionally prepare their children for changes in and out of school.