The 4 Best Ways to Navigate Co-Parenting and Back to School Issues During Covid-19

by Aug 31, 2020

As if the year 2020 hasn’t been stressful enough, parents are being forced to decide whether their children should be heading back to in-person instruction or all-virtual learning or a combination of both.

And how are you making those decisions with your co-parent? Do you agree on what’s best for your children both academically and with extracurricular activities? Some of this depends on where you live in the country, but the uncertainty only adds to the challenge that co-parents face every day.

Linda Snell, a licensed clinical social worker at New Method Wellness in San Juan Capistrano, CA says, “The uncertainty of the pandemic and the challenges it brings for virtual learning in the home can override the co-parents’ ability to collaborate and make decisions.”

In Arizona at least, most parenting plans state that both parents hold decision-making powers for medical treatment, education and other major decisions.

So what if you and your co-parent do not agree on whether your child will return to in-person learning or online learning? Several psychological and legal experts across the country have come up with their best tips based on the issues co-parents are struggling with the most:

Always Keep In The Forefront:

What Is In The Best Interest Of Your Child

Experts agree that co-parents ought to approach any tough questions around back-to-school by considering what option is in the best interest of the child. Co-parents can approach their child’s schooling situation like a business decision and use business guidelines to depersonalize it. “Focusing on compromise and consistency are key components,” notes Snell. “Co-parents need to agree and demonstrate a willingness to support each other throughout the school year, which allows the children to view them as a team.” You can always speak with your child’s school counselor or other professionals like your mediator or co-parenting coach if you get stuck.

Work On Creating Routine And Consistency In Your Home

While agreeing on a set schedule, both for day and night, might feel especially challenging during a time filled with so much uncertainty, it’s a key step for co-parents and kids. “Both parents should be fully informed about each child’s virtual learning schedule and try to maintain a similar schedule,” notes Wendy B. Samuelson, an attorney with Samuelson Hause & Samuelson, LLP in Garden City, New York.

Know That There May Be Disruptions In Your Visitation Schedule

Jennifer Weisberg Millner, an attorney expert says “Parents who have been separated or divorced should set aside their preconceptions about their parenting schedule and allow their child to work in a place that is most conducive to virtual learning, regardless of ‘whose day it is,’” says Millner. “There will be plenty of time to make up for lost days when this is all over. It is paramount to ensure the child is in the physical space that will provide the best learning experience.” Work with your co-parent on having the correct devices at both homes.

The Need To Be Flexible

In addition to making for smoother sailing at home and giving a child more confidence and comfort that they can handle whatever curveballs the coming school year might present, working to get on the same page will model effective conflict resolution skills for a child to use in their own current and future relationships, says Nungesser. She points out, “It also creates unity in the family system, which is going to be a positive for any child as they attempt to adapt to their ‘new norm.’”

We hope these tips from the experts will help you to navigate this unchartered territory you may be facing.

We’re here for you at Smarter Divorce Solutions to provide you with the specific information you may need in Arizona.

We provide co-parenting coaching and mediation services that can save you money if you and your co-parent cannot cooperate and agree on these issues.

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