Here are some tips for shared custody families:

Keep a master calendar for the kids’, your and your ex-spouse’s schedules and stick with it as much as you can. Scheduling disputes can escalate quickly.

Communicate calmly when there are changes and updates.

Stay organized. If you can’t afford two full sets of clothes, try to send clothes back clean or keep some packed all the time. Get a portable container for toys, books and sporting equipment. Keep a backpack for each day’s school supplies and a notebook/folder for important papers. Keep a place in your home that belongs to the children only. If it can’t be a whole room, set up a table for their activities and things. Children need to feel secure and that both of your homes are their home.

Use time in the car. Catch up on homework, what’s going on in school and life in general. Keep up with homework. It’s easy for kids’ academic performance to slide if homework is emphasized by one parent but not the other.

If you’re having disagreements, seek mediation or counseling. Short-term help can bring you new ideas with how to deal with major issues, such as where your child goes to school or finances.

Try to keep routines consistent between families. It’s hard for children to live with two sets of rules. Communicate the family situation to your child’s school. Some will be more accommodating about parental issues if they know of the custody arrangements, as well as more alert if they see distress in a child. But don’t put the school in the middle of disputes.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have one parent who’s not doing his or her fair share, rise to the occasion. Pick up the slack with minimal resentment and fuss. Small things are not worth fighting over, and animosity between parents hurts children.

Use discretion in sending messages back and forth through your children. Don’t put them in the position of having to tell mom bad news or constantly deliver checks. Don’t worry that your child will be ostracized. These days, with divorce more common, kids are very accepting of other families’ living arrangements. There are likely to be other kids in similar circumstances in your kids’ classes.

SOURCE: The Morning Call