Making the transition from long, unstructured days in the summer to the rules and expected behavior of the school environment can sometimes be very anxiety provoking for kids. It’s really critical that divorced parents are mindful of that anxiety, and what the kids are going through during this transition. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Don’t contribute more to the children’s anxiety by fighting over where the children are going to sleep the night before the first day of school, or even being rigid about the calendar prior to the beginning of school. What’s important for the children is that there be support from their parents and no conflict.
- Prepare in advance for the purchase of school clothes and school supplies. Both parents should make every attempt to be mindful of the importance that the child places on their support—and avoid conflicts in front of the child at all costs.
- Decide in advance where the children spend the night before school, whether one or both of you will accompany the children to school or put them on the bus.
Your children may want you both involved the first day of school. Figure out a way to give them that if you can do so without conflict. It can be helpful to think about this as their experience outside the realm of your divorce. Which is more important to be mindful of? Which is the first priority? Of course, it is your children.
My Divorce Recovery
Lauren Behrman, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Zimmerman, Ph.D., ABPP