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Six back-to-school tips for co-parents

Study up on these pointers for a peaceful school year.

Going back to school can be a rude awakening for children after a summer of sleeping late and hanging out at the beach. But it is also a time of transition for parents, particularly those who share child custody and parenting time.

It can be difficult to share time and responsibilities fairly when a kid needs new clothes, homework help and rides to school. Use the tips below to minimize conflict with your ex and help your child have a great school year

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. If you don't communicate with your co-parent, even simple things like lunch money and homework can be negatively affected. Make sure you are on the same page about your responsibilities, and consider holding family meetings to check in.
  2. Coordinate back-to-school shopping. Shopping for the school year is a big undertaking in terms of both time and money. Avoid duplicating efforts and expenses by splitting the job with your former partner.
  3. Don't complain about child support. School supplies and clothes seem to get more expensive every year, and it can be frustrating when you can't give your child the best of everything. Even if child support is limiting your back-to-school budget, do not mention it to your child - or speak negatively about your co-parent.
  4. Help with homework. Even if your child breezes through assignments without any trouble, sitting down with them during homework time shows them that you are there for them whenever they need you.
  5. Show up. There is nothing more important than being there for your child. Unless you and your former partner have a history of intense conflict or a no-contact order, it is best to show up together for things like parent-teacher conferences, recitals and sporting events.
  6. Focus on your child. It's understandable that you and your ex may not always get along, but try not to let that affect your child. Keep things as civil as possible so your child knows his or her education is a priority.

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