By: Amanda Engel, The Duncan Law Firm, LLP 

Summer is over and the school year here! Here are some tips to help have a smooth transition back into the school year while co-parenting: 

1.  Put your child(ren) first. 

 Effective co-parenting requires the parents to put their personal differences aside and put the needs of the child first.  When co-parenting, it is important to focus on what the children need and not what you as the parent want.  Doing this can make the child feel loved and supported regardless of which parent they are with.   

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  

Communicating with the other parent is essential to co-parenting.  Both parents need to be on the same page.  This does not mean you have to agree about everything.  It simply means you need to keep each other in the loop, have civil conversations, discuss issues regarding the child, and communicate about schoolwork, activities, and schedules. The more communication that happens between parents, the smoother things will be for your child.   

3.  Work together to coordinate schedules. 

Between the day-to-day schoolwork, school events, activities, pick-ups, drop-offs, and your individual work schedules, things can become very hectic. Using a shared calendar, co-parenting application, or other like technology can keep everyone on track and help both parents stay in the loop about what is going on at school.  It can be used to track school events, pick-ups, drop-offs, holidays, extracurricular activities, lesson plans, homework, and parenting time. This will also allow each parent to coordinate with the other and can help eliminate controversies and keep everyone on the same page.      

4.  Attend important school events with the other parent. 

It is in the best interest of your child to attend events, such as teacher conferences or performances, together.  By attending together, it demonstrates to your child that you care about them first and foremost.   

5.  When conflicts arise, put your child’s interest first. 

Co-parenting is hard and issues do arise.  It is important to go directly to the other parent about the issue.  Do not put the child in the middle.  Try to avoid discussing the issue in front of the child.  

The hustle and bustle of school, and all the activities related to it, can make co-parenting hard.  Using the above tips can help have a smooth transition into the new school year.