The school year is back in full swing in Rhode Island as September comes to an end. Every parent and family is dealing with re-acclimating to the school year schedule, but divorced co-parents face a unique set of challenges during the academic year.

Sharing parenting responsibilities with a former spouse can present any number of added difficulties from coordinating schedules to maintaining civil, respectful communication. How do former spouses deal with the realities of co-parenting in a way that benefits the children the most? Consider a few important elements of a productive, effective shared parenting arrangement.

Shared custody benefits children

Children whose parents use a joint or shared custody arrangement benefit from this style more than those who spend most or all time with only one parent, according to national studies. Researchers have examined the levels of stress and behavioral effects of various custody arrangements and largely find that children thrive more with shared parenting.

Due to the observed benefits of shared parenting, this style of custody arrangement is preferable in many cases as long as it is a safe arrangement that meets the best interests of the children. Shared parenting arrangements mean that former spouses need strategies and effective tactics to implement a cooperative custody plan.

Effective co-parenting tips and tools

Co-parents share parenting responsibilities and roles, which means both of you will need to take on the important elements of your child’s care and success. An important element of shared parenting is to respect and not undermine your co-parent. Speaking ill of the other parent adds undue stress to the children’s lives and can be detrimental to the success of the shared roles.

When it comes to co-parenting after a divorce, it’s important to find the tools that work for your situation. Do you struggle to talk to your former spouse without raising tensions? Consider using an app designed for co-parenting needs that includes an in-app messaging tool to keep you both focused on what matters: the kids. Our Family Wizard, 2Houses and many other apps exist to facilitate co-parenting in an all-inclusive platform.

Do you or the other parent struggle with keeping a set schedule? Establish a parenting time plan and include both parents and children so everyone knows where to be and when to be there. Understand that emergencies happen, so plans may change. But whenever possible, keep a consistent schedule to ensure children have a set, reliable routine in place.

Co-parenting presents a lot of challenges to former spouses, but they are far from insurmountable. Utilize the resources available including family counselors, school resources, child psychologists and family law experts. Effective shared parenting is entirely possible, but it might not come easily at first. Continue to search for and try out new strategies while focusing on the children as top priority.