More likely than not, parents will need to make some adjustments to their regular schedule that is usually in effect during the school year, and with summer break fast approaching, your children may be concerned about how their time will be split with each parent given the unpredictable schedule that often comes with summer vacation. In order to make sure these changes are implemented smoothly so you can enjoy your summer to the fullest, we’ve compiled a list of some strategies to keep in mind.
1. Lay it all out on the table
There’s nothing worse than not knowing about a certain trip your ex had planned until a week before it happens, or realizing there is a misunderstanding about who gets your child during the July 1st long weekend. To avoid this, sit down with your ex to talk about your individual plans for the summer, and how that will affect the custody arrangement. Make sure the conversation is honest and expresses your needs and expectations of one another. We recommend starting with specifying dates that are set in stone before moving onto things you would like to do with your children over the break that are flexible in date.
2. Schedule everything
Once you’ve sat down with your ex to discuss your plans over the summer, be sure to work out a schedule around not only each of your demands, but also camps, babysitters or special events your children may be attending to over the summer break. Using applications such as Google calendar is not only a great way to keep track of everything, but it also allows you and your spouse to conveniently create edit the date and time of events online.
Planning a summer trip? Travelling with your children after a divorce requires a little bit more planning outside of the usual pre-planning required when travelling with children. You will also need to consider the travelling arrangement that you have with your Ex. For more information about travelling with children after divorce you can check out our blog post about the parenting arrangement here, and documentation here.
4. Keep structure
If you have recently gotten divorced, this may be an uncertain time for your children. Keeping their summer schedule as similar as before can be a key in reducing stress levels. An article published by Psychology Today references Professor Michael Lamb’s study “Mothers, Fathers, Families, and Circumstances: Factors Affecting Children's Adjustment” stating that children benefit from emotionally stable parents—adults who are recuperated enough, in the case of divorce, to focus on the basic job of parenting, including establishing stability. So, remember when you are planning your summer vacation out, factor in stability and make sure your children’s last summer is somewhat similar to their upcoming one.
5. Have fun
We can’t stress this enough, remember to have fun! There are so many great things to do with your kids this summer, and it would be a shame if arguments with your ex got in the way of spending quality time with your children.