Typically, parents should strive to maintain as much stability as possible during and following divorce. However, select circumstances may make it virtually impossible to avoid switching school districts. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth transition:
Provide Advance Notice, If Possible
Give your child time to grow accustomed to the idea of a new school, and to prepare for the ensuing transition.
Get on the Same Page with the Other Parent
Depending on the nature of the new school (e.g. if it’s private or not; if it’s far from one parent or the other), you may need to enter into sensitive discussions with your ex. Who will pay additional costs? How should the commute to school work, logistically? What happens if the child doesn’t like the new school—what’s your Plan B? Does the visitation or custody schedule need to be adjusted? Talk to your Virginia family law attorney about how to deal with these topics.
Mobile apps like Our Family Wizard can help co-parents share real-time info about school pick-ups, field trips and homework. Other parents prefer sharing data via Google account, which can then be updated with documents, spreadsheets and calendar entries. Commit to a communication system to keep everyone in the loop.
Encourage Involvement in School Activities
Between the stress of divorce and attending a new school, your kids may be eager for distraction. Extracurriculars can keep their mind off the divorce, and more importantly, help them establish new friendships. Encourage your kids to join sports teams, musical groups or academic clubs. Show your support by attending games and performances. Don’t be overzealous, however; there’s no need to over commit and run yourself and your kids ragged.
Help Maintain Friendships from Past Schools
Smart phones and social media make this easy, but don’t neglect in-person contact. If possible—especially if you live within driving distance—help your kids arrange outings with old friends.
Encourage a Fresh Start
Perhaps your child struggled at his or her old school. A new environment could actually be a relief, providing the opportunity for a clean slate. Encourage your child to explore and grow.
The right Virginia family attorney can ensure a favorable outcome for both you and your children. Contact DiPietro Law Group to learn more about child custody and visitation options for your family.