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Co-Parenting at Different Ages: 5 to 13-Year-Olds

Co-parenting will be different for every child. One big reason is their age and their developmental needs as they grow. In this fourth installment of our series about co-parenting children at different ages, we’ll look at children and pre-teens and how their needs will differ from younger children. What do you need to know about co-parenting a school-age child? Here are a few things to get you started. 

Children Want more Independence

As children enter school, they begin to exert their independence from their parents. It includes various degrees of development, but parents should be aware that children will want more time on their own or with their peer group. This may affect custody schedules, so it’s essential to understand the needs of your child. 

Get Them Involved in Calendar Planning

One thing you can do with your older children is to involve them in your calendar planning. While you may have specific custody dates, they would love to have a hand in what they do during that time frame. Older children can have a little more autonomy in their time than younger children, but they will appreciate the ability to help plan their time. 

They Can Adapt to Different Parenting Styles

Unlike babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, school-age children are much more adaptable to different parenting styles. You don’t need to stay as consistent for their sake. However, you should also not use your co-parenting time to undermine your child’s other parent. Be sure you’re still communicating about your schedules, discipline, and other aspects of custody. 

Plan for Outside Activities

Children at this age also thrive with a lot of activities outside the home. From sports to dance to other enrichment programs, encouraging your children to participate in collaborative events and social activities will help them develop communication and team-building skills that will stay with them as they age. 

Encourage Communication Outside of their Parental Time

One other important part of co-parenting a school-age child is to encourage communication between your child and the other parent during your time with them. Phone calls, texting, emailing, or Zoom chats are all reasonable methods of communication, and it needs to be okay for them to reach out to their other parent at all times, whether it’s to share news, ask questions or bond over a shared interest. 

Talk to an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Before you and your partner make a plan about co-parenting your school-age child, talk to a family lawyer to better understand your rights. 

We are Georgia divorce and child custody attorneys. This is all we have done since 1995. We can help. If you need help or have any questions, we would be happy to speak with you via email, text, or phone. Check us out at

Scott Shaw
Shaw Law Firm, PC
(770) 594-8309 (phone)
(678) 522-4799 (text)
[email protected]