Going back to school will likely look very different for kids all across Texas this year. But it can be especially different for children with parents who have recently divorced or separated.
Under these circumstances, a child is not just adjusting to new schools, teachers and a remote learning setting; he or she is also adjusting to changes at home. Parents can help their children make these changes less jarring by taking the following steps.
Acknowledge the challenges for children
Talking to your child can be critical during times of transition, and this is no exception. Whether you are talking about their new school year or the custody arrangements, acknowledge that this can be a complicated time.
Parents who recognize these challenges and talk to their kids about them can give children a valuable outlet and sense of support.
Maximize opportunities for consistency
While a lot may be changing, there are some things that you can keep the same. For instance, perhaps you take pictures every year on the first day of school, or you always have a special treat ready when the child gets home. Continuing these types of traditions can be helpful.
You can also keep your approaches to school consistent. This could include having the same expectations regarding schoolwork, extracurricular activities and acceptable behaviors in class.
Work together as parents
Setting aside arguments and a complicated history to be unified for your child can be immensely beneficial. Talk to each other; make sure you know the custody and school schedules so you can be where your child needs you to be; have any arguments that may arise away from your child to avoid creating stress.
It can also be reassuring for your child if you can be a little flexible during transition periods. Flexibility could mean letting your child see or the other parent during your parenting time after the first few days of school or agreeing to pick up your child early from school if he or she is sick, even if it’s the other parent’s time.
While these tips may not eliminate all the challenges of this new school year, they can make things a little easier for children of recently-divorced parents.