Co-parenting is always a balancing act, but add your child's remote learning into the mix and you could have a real challenge on your hands.
As always, communication is key. Each parent should be informed on what the back to school process looks like and all available options, knowing that with COVID-19, recommendations and options are changing every day. Discuss with your co-parent the concerns you each have as it pertains to healthcare, your work schedule, and your child’s educational, emotional and social needs.
[Related: How to co-parent during the coronavirus pandemic]
What are some options you can consider? Perhaps a temporary modification of the current schedule to better accommodate the child’s new hybrid learning model or remote learning schedule. Seek out advice from teachers and counselors at your children’s school to help create a good parenting schedule and break up of work among both households. Perhaps brainstorming together about co-teaching different subjects and classes, coming up with activities or homework that can involve both parties.
Children will also be in a time of transition during the period of remote or hybrid learning. It is vital as parents to be on the same team with one another, trying to create a fun and educational environment in both homes, finding new and exciting ways to teach and learn given the circumstances.
However, co-parents may be facing certain issues that nuclear families do not. For example, a point of contention may arise over which home is more equipped to facilitate remote learning during the week. Do both parents have adequate access to a computer, an extra room or office, or even faster internet? Another issue may be that one parent’s work schedule may allow for more hands-on learning with the child while the other’s work schedule poses time constraints. Parents need to communicate with one another and determine what the best remote learning option is for their child.
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Apps such as Talking Parents and Our Family Wizard should be used for parents to check in and make sure the children are being kept up to date on the school curriculum. Calendar applications within the OurFamilyWizard program can be used to update the other parent on homework for the week and what work has already been completed. Parents also should communicate to ensure that consistency is being maintained. It is expected that both parents get on the same page to facilitate remote learning in equal or similar environments, support one another, and communicate about issues the child may experience.
If you and your co-parent are worried about the transition to online learning (and parenting) or have already been faced with hiccups when trying to compromise, seeking third-party help is always an option. Mediation, Parenting Coordination or involving a Guardian ad Litem may be the best resources for helping you both come to a healthy resolution or fair compromise. These forms or third-party help can be used to avoid costly litigation and help parents stay grounded in the most important thing: the way your child can learn, progress, and transition to remote learning with ease.
The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson specializes in family law, litigation, mediation and parenting coordination.