Preparing For Summer Co-Parenting

Though many children look forward to the fun, freedom, and activities that typically come with summer vacation, it can be a challenging time for both the children and the parents in divorcing or post-divorce families.

Under many custody arrangements, children are with one parent or the other for longer stretches during the summer than during the school year. It’s a change in routine and in parenting time that can potentially produce anxiety for children and frustration for parents.

Here are some tips to help parents make the transition from the school year to summer vacation easier for children (and themselves) following a divorce.

Make Plans Early: Enroll children in summer camps and make vacation plans as soon as possible – definitely before the end of the school year. This gives kids a better idea of what the summer will look like and what they can look forward to doing during the summer. It also allows time for parents to resolve any schedule conflicts that might arise in the planning process.
Don’t Take On Too Much: While parents might want to make sure their kids are active and busy, scheduling your children for multiple camps, sports seasons and other activities could leave them exhausted or burned out. Make sure there’s time in the schedule for you and your kids to be together, and for your kids to spend time with their friends.

Remember, They’ll Remember: If you think back on your childhood, you’ll be reminded of how important summer can be in defining one’s childhood experience, and how vivid those summer memories remain after childhood. This means not only thinking about what your children will experience during summer vacation with each parent, but what they’ll remember about their parents’ interactions with each other in making plans. Work to maintain a civil tone in your summer scheduling, and seek compromise and negotiation to resolve any conflicts.

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