Whether this is your first or fifth time preparing your stepchildren for the impending school year, you face challenges as a stepdad that traditional parents don’t have to deal with. You’re not alone, though. According to Stepfamily.org, 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every single day. Kick it into high gear as you prepare your family for the school year, and win the award for best stepdad of the year by following these back-to-school tips.
Establish a Cohesive Education Plan
To enforce homework rules within your household, the other parents involved in your stepchildren’s lives need to be supportive, helpful and on the same page. If possible at the beginning of the school year meet with everyone involved in parenting. During the meeting discuss how homework hours or Internet time for playing games or watching videos should be handled. Cooperation as a team makes it easier to keep your children on track and focused academically. Also, it’s better to get these details hammered out in the beginning of the school year, rather than trying to fix a situation halfway through the semester. Stay civil with the other parent; it may be nearly impossible to agree on a workable solution for school issues if parents are at each other’s throats.
Settle in with a Routine
Children benefit from a routine for schoolwork, chores, socializing, free time, and other activities. When you settle them into a routine, it’s easy for everyone in the household to know exactly what they should be doing at a particular point in time. Try to extend this routine to the other parent’s home, especially if the children spend a significant amount of time between both homes. Disrupting the pattern and routine every time they leave for a weekend visit or holiday can break good habits and even cause anxiety. Also, ED.gov reports it’s especially important to focus on a normal school sleep schedule. Instead of letting them stay up as late as they want like during the carefree days of summertime, establish a time during the evening for a bath, snack and story. Make sure your kids are used to waking up at the same time every morning as well.
Volunteering at the school can help you be more involved in your stepchildren’s lives. You’ll meet other parents, students and teachers, which also makes you a more active and aware parent. You’re doing everything you can to help out and be a positive role model. Talk with your partner first before putting in extra time at the school or establishing a routine. It may take time to develop the trust with the children and your partner to take these types of actions without appearing as though you’re overstepping boundaries.