Extracurriculars are an important part of many children’s lives. They offer opportunities to acquire new skills, develop new relationships and grow.
They also look good on college applications. In a shared custody situation, handling extracurriculars may seem difficult, especially initially as everyone adjusts to the new circumstances. However, following a few tips can help co-parents develop a routine.
1. Communicate frequently and clearly
Communication lays the foundation for successful co-parenting in shared custody situations. Keeping each other informed about upcoming extracurricular activities ensures that both parents can actively participate in their children’s pursuits. Establishing a reliable means of communication, whether through emails, texts or a shared calendar, facilitates smooth coordination.
2. Create a solid schedule that suits both parents
Both parents need to actively participate in scheduling events and practices. Collaborative planning helps avoid conflicts and ensures that each parent has the opportunity to engage in his or her children’s interests. It also helps prevent conflicts over unclear details, such as who is picking up the children.
3. Keep a flexible mindset
A flexible parenting plan and mindset are beneficial when it comes to accommodating extracurricular activities. Including provisions that address schedule adjustments for events or practices can prevent conflicts and allow the children to pursue their interests without disruption.
4. Come to an agreement about financial costs
Extracurricular activities often come with costs, including registration fees, equipment and travel expenses. Open discussions about equitably dividing the expenses for these activities foster a cooperative co-parenting environment.
5. Attend events
Attending the children’s extracurricular events is a meaningful way for both parents to show support. Shared custody should extend beyond logistical arrangements to include active participation in the children’s lives. Being present at these events even when it is the other parent’s time shows support for the children and demonstrates a non-hostile attitude towards the other parent.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more children had extracurricular activities of some sort in 2022 than in the two decades prior. Extracurriculars are an important part of childhood and young adulthood, but parents need to cooperate to ensure smooth pickups, drop-offs and attendances.