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Can divorced parents jump-start their kids' school success?

With only a little more than a week before West Springfield schools return for the 2017-2018 academic year, newly separated or divorced parents can ease their children's anxiety by preparing them to head back to school.

Even kids who have never encountered any prior trouble in school may find themselves acting out in class without realizing why. Parents can use the following tips to ease their children's transition from summer vacation to school year.

Arrange a conference with coaches and teachers

Don't wait until Open House night when parents are queued up to meet their kids' teachers to broach sensitive subjects like a recent divorce. Instead, ask for a brief meeting or phone call to give the important adults in your children's lives a heads-up about the family situation. Even initiating email contact with coaches and teachers is better than nothing.

Have both parents — separately — go back-to-school shopping with the kids

This makes sense for a few reasons. Shopping for new school supplies and outfits is arguably the best part of returning to class for most kids, and this allows them to share the experience with both of their parents. It shows them that both parents remain engaged and involved in the kids' academic success.

Also, having both mom and dad participate in shopping for school clothes and supplies allows them to share in the expense without haggling over every receipt.

Discuss returning to school

Kids who are still feeling unmoored by their parents' divorces can bottle up a lot of angst and insecurities. They may worry about measuring up to their classmates or meeting the intellectual challenges of the higher grades.

Parents who opt to keep the lines of communication open between them and their children provide a safe way for them to discuss their fears

Visit the school

Give kids attending a new school for the first time a trial run by visiting. The principal or guidance counselor can walk them through the halls, pointing out their lockers and the cafeteria, library and other important areas.

It's important that divorced parents manage to cooperate with one another to help their kids start the school year off right.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "4 Tips for Prepping Your Child to Go Back to School," accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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