Pandemic School Closures Requires Co-Parents To Team Up To Create The
Best Home Learning Environments
As an experienced child custody lawyer, I am dedicated to helping co- parents keep negotiations positive and focused on your child’s well-being. The shift to virtual education has created a new set of requirements to consider when planning a visitation schedule. I’ve outlined an action plan
below to help co-parents partner together to create a stable home-school environment across two households.
First Things First—Review Your Parenting Agreement
Healthychildren.org provides a list of virtual school needs for co-parents to keep in mind while renegotiating their child’s visitation schedule, including: access to the internet, quiet workspaces, and each co-parent’s availability to supervise virtual learning. If a co-parent is an essential worker, their employment hours may be increased and may lack the flexibility to be home during school hours. Work-at-home parents need to trouble-shoot how to split their time between working and supervising their child’s school day at home, as well as how to best share space. Changes to home environments may be necessary to establish a virtual classroom with minimal distractions, and new devices may need to be added to the back-to-school shopping list,
such as noise-canceling headphones. Pandemic health guidelines for physical distancing may also affect visitations, especially if one parent has a higher risk of virus transmission due to more contact with the public.
What If My Ex Refuses To Help With Online Learning?
Each parent is expected to handle childcare and school work during their custody time. If your ex is not helping your child attend school on their assigned days, you can go to court and request temporary changes in custody. It’s essential to consult with a family law attorney before finalizing modifications to your custody plan to make sure you haven’t left anything out. Legal help is also crucial in determining if child support needs will be affected by rescheduling visitations. Online school supplies and potential changes to your home environment may also add expenses to your present child support calculation.
Help Your Children Understand School Closures As A Protective Community Effort
School closures significantly affect the social and emotional well-being of your child, so it’s vital to explain the importance of physical distancing. For younger children, the sense that they are being kept home to keep them safe can increase fear and anxiety. The CDC has recommendations to help parents speak with their children about Covid-19 in a clear, reassuring, and age-appropriate way.
Consistent Routines Can Help Keep Kids On Track
The pandemic shutdown has not only upended our lives on every level and caused economic insecurity. There’s no way to promise your child when the hardships will be over, and life can return to normal. With so many external pressures out of our control, it’s all the more important for co-parents to create calm, predictable environments and establish routines and consistency between their two households. The PBS Kids Learn At Home Checklist for younger children includes posting a calendar with your child’s daily schedule and reviewing it with them ahead of time. If your child’s schooling is split between two homes, make sure your co-parent follows the same plan and also posts it for your child to see.
Virtual Communication And Online Tools Help Co-Parents Stick To A Shared Education Plan
Check-in with your child and teachers regularly to assess what academic support is needed and how each parent can help with test preparation and homework. Set up a shared online calendar with your co-parent for school events, homework deadlines, and testing as an easy reminder system and to make sure you have everything covered. If necessary, schedule virtual homework help to keep educational support consistent when your child is not at home with the designated academic support parent.
Co-Parenting Rules To Live By
Always act in the best interest of the child, keep open lines of communication with your co-parent whenever possible, and get legal advice before making any changes to the custody arrangement.
Let us know if we can help.
More Covid-19 Remote Learning Resources:
“Operation Connectivity” —providing computers and internet access to all Texas public school students
Healthychildren.org—ideas for daily at-home school schedules
Covid-19 Support: Child Nutrition—curbside meals and delivery