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Essential Back-to-School Co-Parenting Tips

Dads’ Resource Center sheds light on co-parenting during the school year

With summer break coming to a close, millions of students around the country are heading back to the classroom. Many parents face challenges throughout the year, but those who co-parent may have additional ones that need to be addressed. The key to successful co-parenting during the school year is to know what to focus on. This will help ensure a smoother and happier year for everyone involved.


“Children enter into each school year both excited and nervous about what lies ahead,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Scott Steiner. “More than anything they need to know that both parents are working together and are there for them as they go through the journey.”


One of the most important tools for co-parenting during the school year is to have a plan. It’s a wise idea for the family, or at least the parents, to hold a friendly meeting to iron out decisions and ensure everyone is on the same page. With the message, communication, and consistency, the children will be better prepared to handle issues and navigate between the two homes.


Here are some essential back-to-school co-parenting tips to keep in mind:


  • Forget playing games. Playing games and one-upping each other never lead to healthy outcomes. To have the best result, co-parents need to be a team with one goal: putting the child first.
  • Work out the details. Before school starts, hold a meeting to discuss the rules concerning homework routines, bedtimes, special projects, lunches, and teacher conferences. Determine who will help with what and how things need to be done.
  • Attend important events. Whenever possible, both parents should try to attend important events. This includes parent-teacher conferences, school performances, sports, etc.
  • Remember the agreement. Keep the parenting agreement in mind, but be flexible enough not to create problems where there doesn’t need to be any. A little flexibility can go a long way toward keeping the peace, which is healthy.
  • Communicate together. Aim for parents to communicate about issues directly, rather than sending the messages through the child. It’s best not to have the child be caught in the middle, even if it’s always delivering messages.
  • Determine costs. Attending school comes with costs to cover such things as clothing, supplies, and field trips. If it’s not in the parenting agreement, agree on how the costs will be covered (i.e., split the costs).


“Children today face extraordinary pressure,” said Dads’ Resource Center Founder and Chair Dr. Joel N. Myers. “With the internet and social media, they are bombarded by negative outside influences. The high costs for post-secondary education and our rapidly evolving job market make it increasingly difficult for them to plan for their future. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need for both parents to be fully involved in the education and upbringing of their children.”

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