t’s happening. Somehow those summer days have disappeared from the calendar, and we’re staring straight into another school year. It’s an exciting time of reinvention—and not just for kids. Each new school year presents us with an opportunity to reshape how we parent, re-considering everything from schedules to bedtime routines to homework help methods to healthier mealtimes. What worked last school year? What didn’t? Now’s the time to be intentional about how you kick-off the new school year. With that in mind, here are five ways to make co-parenting at back-to-school time better this year.
The back-to-school bills can rack up. The shoes your kids wore in June are busted, new clothes are needed, and the classroom supply lists are longer than you remember. Not to mention after school care and extracurriculars. Even if you’re the parent that’s taken charge of the shopping, you shouldn’t need to bear the monetary burden. Use Onward to easily itemize, split costs, and get paid back - the app will do the heavy lifting of communicating with your co-parent about these expenses, so that you don’t have to!
Over the last few months, if you’re like us, you’ve let it ride… a lot. Bedtime has gotten later, and screen time rules are…well, loosely maintained. As you try to wrangle your schedule and household rules back into shape, consider having a conversation with your co-parent so you agree on some consistency. Remember, in the long run, you’re making less work for yourself. A steady schedule means less negotiating so you can stop responding to “But last night, you (or your co-parent) let us!”
For a myriad of reasons, your child’s teacher might find hearing about your co-parenting situation useful. The reasons go beyond purely logistical; your kid’s teacher might be able to keep a better eye on their emotional needs. After all, there’s a good chance that your child’s teacher may come from a background with two sets of parents too.
If your child’s school is hosting a back-to-school or “meet the teacher” event, consider coordinating with your co-parent and attending at the same time. Doing so isn’t just a show for your kid’s teacher - it’s also a sign to your child that you and your co-parent put their needs first.
Things change quickly early in the school year: schedules, logistics and even outfits. It takes a while to develop these new routines. Don’t forget to tell your co-parent when you’re privy to some intel. Maybe there’s some nightly spelling homework that went unmentioned. Maybe there’s been a change to your child’s school’s drop-off rules. Maybe your child made a potential bestie on the playground at recess. Share the intel early in the school year so they have the same information you do, and you’ll set the stage for clear communication with your co-parent all school-year long.