If you’ve been reading about studies and statistics showing that children’s school performance often drops when their parents divorce, you’re likely concerned about your own child. Whether they’re straight-A students or they’ve always struggled with learning, you don’t want their grades to suffer as a result of the changes in your family.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen. Even if you and your co-parent have a less-than-amicable relationship, you can commit to helping your child maintain or improve their academic performance. Let’s look at a couple of things that can make a big difference.
Make schoolwork a priority in both of your homes
This means having consistent rules about things like getting homework done before screen or playtime. Kids benefit when their parents agree on expectations and rules for them – even if they don’t like the rules.
Having habits in place, like expecting them to get to their homework immediately after dinner across both homes and checking in to see if they need help or to quiz them ahead of a test, can show them you’re both interested in their grades regardless of what’s going on in your own lives.
Stay informed and involved
Parents who share custody should make sure they’re both on all email or text lists from teachers or school administrators that involve their kids’ assignments, grades, field trips and more. You and your co-parent can make sure that the other one doesn’t miss anything by keeping a shared journal or calendar that you can access without having to communicate directly.
It’s typically best if the two of you attend parent-teacher meetings together so that you’re hearing the same things about your child (good things and “room for improvement” areas). It also further shows your child that you’re putting aside your differences and making them a priority. If you can’t imagine sitting next to your co-parent, at least try to arrange to attend via Zoom or another teleconferencing app.
It can help to incorporate these and other school-related matters into your parenting plan. This can help clarify your shared expectations of each other and your child.