How to Stay Involved in Your Children’s Education When You’re Not the Custodial Parent

One of the most important and rewarding things that you can do for your child is be involved in their education.  Even if you are a non-custodial parent  after a divorce or separation, you should strive to be involved in different aspects of your child’s education.  By being involved in your child’s education, you are helping to support them and helping them to have higher success rates in school.  Being involved actually is more important than other factors like socioeconomic status or your own personal level of education when it comes to having successful educational experiences for your child.


What You Can Do at Home

When it comes to having children who are successful in school, it is important that you know the right things to do at home.  One of these is that you should be talking to your children daily about their education.  Even if you do not have custody of your children, you can use your daily phone calls to discuss their education and what they have been doing at school.  If you do not get daily phone calls, you can ask them what’s been happening at school each time that you see them or talk to them.  Even one short question of interest can be enough to show your child that you care and how important their education really is.

Taking the time to discuss and check homework when you are with your children is also very important.  Looking over papers, having knowledge and understanding of projects, and learning about your child’s teachers through them is important to help them have a successful school career.  In addition, you should have routines in place for your children for their homework and should work together to ensure that these routines are followed.


What You Should Be Doing at the School


Even if you do not have custody of your children, there are things that you can do at their schools that can help them to have higher levels of success.

During elementary school, it is essential that you build relationships with your child’s teachers.  You want to have an open line of communication with them.  Write notes about questions that you have, volunteer opportunities that you would like to be involved in, and more.  In addition, call teachers if you are not getting the answers that you need or take time to stop by and formally introduce yourself.  You might also want to set up a time to visit the classroom and check out the learning environment where your child is spending their time.  In addition, make sure that you attend all conferences and meetings so that you can get involved on the level that you want to be.

During middle school it is not as easy to be involved with your child’s education.  Children are given more responsibility for themselves at this age.  Make sure that you are participating at any level that you can and if your child wants you to participate, make sure that you are taking the time to do so.  It is also important to note who your child’s guidance counselor is and to have an open line of communication with them.  Resist the urge to discuss matters concerning the other parent, unless the counselor asks questions or brings something up to you.


Consider the PTA

 Many non-custodial parents miss their opportunity to get involved with the PTA at their child’s school.  Being a part of the PTA or parent group that is in place is very important.  You will be able to work together to solve problems that the school might be facing.  Plus you will know the ins and outs to different teachers, workshops, special educational opportunities, and the needs of the school or classrooms.

Being involved as a non-custodial parent might take a little more effort on your part.  However, when you take the time to be involved, you are showing your child that you care and that his/her education is important.


Lastly, it’s important to remember that the courts like you to co-parent so keep the lines of communication open with your Ex about your child’s education and well being. After all, it’s not about you or your Ex, it’s about the children.

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