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3 back-to-school mistakes to avoid if you share custody

A new school year is fast approaching. If you are like most parents in Illinois, you have already spent time helping your children get ready.

However, it is crucial to also prepare yourself for a new year, particularly if you share custody of your children. You can do this by understanding and avoiding some common mistakes co-parents might make when their kids go back to school.

Mistake #1: Not knowing the schedule

Schedules may change when kids go back to school. If you or the other parent don't know the schedule, conflicts can arise and children can get confused and scared.

Make sure you and the other parent are on the same page about school pick-ups and drop-offs, new places or times for exchanges as well as responsibilities for any school-related or extracurricular activity. If questions arise, consult your parenting plan, which must contain scheduling details.

Mistake #2: Not talking to your children

Children don't always volunteer information on how they are feeling or what they might be nervous about, and failing to talk to them during times of transition can be a big mistake. 

Before school starts, talk to your children about schedule changes and expectations for the new school year. Give them the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns over matters like which parent they should call if they get sick or miss the bus. 

Mistake #3: Assuming nothing has changed

Even if your schedules don't change, don't make the mistake of assuming nothing changes with a new school year.

A lot can change when kids go back to school, from bedtimes and morning routines to homework expectations and your child's sense of independence. These changes could affect parenting decisions and your child's needs as well, so make sure you revisit your custody agreement and consider modifications, if necessary.

Avoiding these mistakes can help parents avoid parenting time disputes and complications this fall. When everyone is on the same page and understands what to expect, it can be easier for parents to stay focused on their children and helping them start a new school year on the right foot.

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