As children get older, their lives get busier. The average high school student spends nearly 10 hours a week participating in activities outside of school. From chauffeuring your children back and forth to sports practices, to supporting them at piano recitals and choir concerts, managing a child’s extracurricular activities can be a challenge for divorced families.
Extracurricular activities are a good opportunity for kids of all ages. Studies show that participating in outside activities can increase academic performance, boost self-confidence and lower the risk of depression. On the other hand, overloaded schedules and too many commitments can cause unnecessary stress in adolescents, not to mention their parents. This post provides some quick co-parenting tips on raising an active child with a busy schedule.
Discuss Expectations With Each Other
Before encouraging or allowing your child to sign up for an activity, make sure you and your ex are both on board. Save yourself a headache later and make sure you both understand who is paying for it, what the schedule will entail, and who will assume the role of taxi driver. Many parents have concerns over the psychological stresses of “over-enrolling” school-age children, while others struggle with the financial cost of the activities. Some find it useful to hash out these issues in advance and include the details in their parenting plan. If necessary, a judge may grant a hearing to determine what extracurricular activities are in the best interest of the child.
Don’t Schedule an Activity on the Other Parent’s Parenting Time
If your former spouse only sees his children every other weekend, he may not want to spend every single Saturday they have together at the ballpark. Before you commit your child to participating in an extracurricular activity, ensure your ex supports your decision. While extracurricular activities are usually at the discretion of the custodial parent, both parents should agree to any activity that takes place during another parent’s custody time. Unless a judge orders otherwise, a parent has no obligation to bring his child to any activity that takes place during his time with the children.
Share an Online Calendar
Communication is important between co-parents, especially when you have multiple busy children with overlapping activities. To keep schedules straight and ensure no one misses an important ball game, recital, or performance, consider sharing a Google calendar with your child’s parent.
Attend Important Events Together
Show your support for your children by attending their events as a family. Nothing will make a child happier than seeing both of their parents together cheering them on. It is important to show that you are a united front that works together to make the best decisions for your child. Remember to include step-parents and other members of your blended family at these special events as well.
Talk To A South Carolina Child Custody Lawyer
As children get older, their needs, desires, and daily routines will change. If you need to modify your child custody order, or litigate a child custody issue, reach out to an experienced child custody attorney. McCoy & Stokes, LLC is a family law firm in downtown Charleston, committed to protecting your rights and interests as we work to secure the best possible outcome for your family. Contact us today at (843) 628-2855.