Summer is here and the kids are on break which should mean your own break from the school-year scheduling hassles, right? Not necessarily if you’re divorced and co-parenting with your ex. In fact, you may be facing even more stress as you navigate a schedule that has more options – camps, vacations, sports to name a few – and is much more open to argument. Without these tips for summer co-parenting planning, of course!

  1. Plan Summer a Season Ahead – If there’s a particular date you want to take that vacation or if you’re the non-custodial parent and get more time in the summer, you want to plan ahead to make sure the timing works for everyone. If you both work, you also need to nail down child care arrangements for the time when the kid(s) would normally be in school. Whether it’s daycare or camp, these options book quickly and you want to make sure you each have it covered on your end.
  2. Don’t Assume Anything – This really holds true for co-parenting at any time, but in summer especially. Assuming the schedule will change (or that it won’t) could definitely cause more hassle and disagreement. Ideally, you’d create a formal summer co-parenting plan so there’s no confusion, but even if not, you should at least clarify any changes in writing.
  3. Be Flexible with Summer Co-Parenting – Again, it’s summer. Things come up, plans change and if there’s ever a time of year to go more with the flow; this is it. Not to say let your ex walk all over you, but if there’s a good reason to adjust the plan, try to be accommodating if possible.
  4. Keep Communication Open – Especially while traveling. And this isn’t just between you and your ex. You each should be able to communicate with your kid(s) while they are with the other parent. It could pose big issues in custody down the line if your ex perceives you are using vacation time as a way to block that communication.
  5. Focus on the Kids(s) – Summer break is a big deal for kids, as it should be. To make sure you all enjoy plenty of fun family time, put them at the center of any discussions with your ex. Meaning don’t plan a vacation at the same time/spot, don’t insist on having a week when you know your child could participate in a camp they’d love while with your ex or perhaps don’t do so much on your time that they’re too exhausted to enjoy what your ex has planned. Instead include your child, let them know what they want to do matters too and work together to make this summer the best it can be.
  6. Let Them be Excited – Along the same lines, if you have a big summer planned for your kid(s), make sure they know it’s ok to be excited about their time with your ex. Many kids feel anxious or guilty about having too much fun with one parent or about spending more time with one or the other during the summer; especially if it’s the first summer after the divorce.

If you find yourself struggling with summer co-parenting planning, we’re here to help! Our experienced team offers fully virtual coaching and mediation services. Contact us today to learn more or for a free consultation.