It is normal for parents to feel incredibly excited about their children joining extracurricular activities like sports and to invest heavily in their children’s success. Parents may spend hours transporting kids to practices and games.
Those divorcing and preparing to co-parent may find that their children’s extracurricular activities are a source of family stress. When negotiating the details of a parenting plan, the adults in a family may benefit from addressing the following three details related to child sports and other extracurricular activities.
How the schedule may affect parenting time
Inevitably, sports practices and other extracurricular commitments, like model UN, can consume a huge amount of a young adult’s time outside of school. They may attend practice multiple days a week in addition to any competitions, which may take place on the weekend. It is very likely that some of those practices and competitions will fall during each parent’s time with the children, and the family will need to have rules in place regarding how they adjust the parenting schedule or reallocate parenting time based on the demands of extracurricular activities.
How parents will cover the costs
Extracurricular activities offer enrichment opportunities at a cost. Depending on the school district and the sports(s) a child pursues, it could cost anywhere from a few dozen dollars to a few hundred dollars to pay for the necessary equipment and facilities access that their pursuits require. Those expenses can often prove challenging for parental budgets, which is why adults may need to have rules in place for sharing those costs beyond just having a child support order in place.
How parents will handle special events
The parents may alternate drop-off and pick-up responsibilities from practices based on their pre-existing schedule. When it comes to actual games, competitions or tournaments, however, the parents will likely want to be present and visible so that the children feel supported. Some parents may be able to work out an arrangement in which they attend sporting events together and maybe even sit together to cheer as loudly as possible. There may need to be certain rules to facilitate such arrangements, such as not bringing new romantic partners. Other times, parents may need to work out a way to appropriately divide those special events so that both parents can be present without potentially tarnishing a child’s experience with conflict.
Those who take the time to plan ahead for likely challenges in their co-parenting relationship can often do a better job supporting their children (and staying sane in the process).