Don’t forget extracurricular activities when developing your parenting plan

When you’re working out a parenting plan with your co-parent, it’s often wise to make it as detailed as possible. This can help you think about how you will navigate all of the various areas of your child’s life.

Of course, you’ll want to work out things related to your child’s school, like whether both of you will receive school emails and calendars as well as communications about your child (like assignments, grades and disciplinary actions). If you’re sharing physical and legal custody, it’s typically best for both parents to receive the same information.

Don’t forget about extracurricular activities. These will change over the years as your child develops different interests and skills. However, they’re a crucial part of a child’s education and upbringing. Parents need to work out how they’ll share or divide responsibility and participation and how they’ll make decisions.

What kinds of details should you address?

Here are some things you can work out regarding extracurricular activities (both current and future) in your parenting plan. For example, you can stipulate that:

  • Both parents are free to participate in any of the child’s extracurricular activities.
  • The parent whom the child is living with at the time of an event is responsible for getting them there and back.
  • Each parent is responsible for staying current on all activities. (It’s always best if parents help each other stay informed, even if it’s through a co-parenting app.)
  • Any participation in new activities requires agreement or notification within a specified period prior to sign-up if parental time and/or money is involved.

It’s essential to discuss how expenses will be handled. If one parent wants a child to participate in an activity and the other thinks it’s too expensive, can they just pay for all (or most) of it? Taking piano lessons is one level of expense, but training to be a competitive ice skater is another.

It’s also a good idea to address school-related activities in and out of the classroom that requires parental participation. Which one(s) of you will be “room mom/dad,” help out at fundraisers and chaperone field trips, dances and away games, for example?

These are just some things to think about. What you include in your parenting plan will be unique to your child’s interests, the school and your family.

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