As the parent of an elementary and junior high student, I assumed that my most challenging years of parenting would occur before my children entered school. Although in many ways parenting has become easier (no diapers or safety locks), in other ways it has become much more complicated as our family assumes the activity calendars for two more members. Calendars have become a moving target in our family and only in rare moments do I feel in control.
When it comes to divorce and co-parenting between two homes, the challenge of staying organized increases. With the school year underway, here are some suggestions for keeping two homes organized, in sync and running as smoothly as possible!
- Use an online calendar. Keep track of the school calendar, sports and other activities, and even the church calendar online so both parents have access to the same upcoming dates. One calendar for the entire family will help alleviate confusion and frustration. You can assign various colors for each child or each activity.
- Share documents online. Having access to important documents such as vaccination or other medical records, health insurance information, school releases or classroom newsletters online can help save time when trying to coordinate between the homes and sharing information. Such systems as “Google Docs” or “Dropbox” allow more than one user to access and share the same documents. Create folders such as “Health,” “After-school Activities,” etc., to house the specific documents.
- Start a regular family meeting. Meet weekly or twice monthly at the beginning of the week to connect in person and discuss important upcoming events. Have one member lead the meeting and create an agenda. Another family member can take notes and then share the information generated from the meeting. These meeting notes can be kept in your document sharing system. Our family started this tradition after I read “Positive Discipline” by Jane Nelsen – we have found it to be an invaluable tool for not only staying on top of upcoming events but also staying connected with our kids.
Tagged with: Co-Parenting • document sharing • family meetings • on-line calendars • staying organized