The summer months are a time of happiness and relaxation for the kids. Parents, on the other hand, may struggle to find ways to occupy children’s time. This in turn can lead to a schedule of soccer camp, math tutoring, trips to the beach and the necessary transportation logistics that goes with these activities.
It’s a lot for married parents and becomes even more complex if the parents are divorced or do not live together. Planning ahead is always advised, but it is likely that some adjustments need to be made, particularly if this is the first summer where the parents live apart. Here are some tips adapted from an article that can help your summer go a bit more smoothly.
Six tips for summer
- Involve your kids in the planning: Ask kids how they feel about summer and what they are most looking forward to. Discuss possibilities like day camp, sleep away camp, activities and trip possibilities. What worked last year may not work again this year.
- Daily childcare: If both parents work, this will be a necessity for younger kids and even some older kids who don’t think they need it. Be careful about using teenagers every day because they may not be reliable, thus leaving you in a bind. Also be sure they are up to the task – grandma may not have the stamina to keep up with three active boys.
- Agree upon summer rules: Discuss bedtime, whether they can stay home alone and for how long, expectations for check-ins if children are not supervised, and how to handle invitations for activities or visits with friends and other family members.
- Revisit the parenting plan: Does it account for birthdays, vacations and other important activities? It is important that parents discuss these issues as well as transport details and necessary expenses.
- Expect to share costs: Following up on that last point, remember that summers can involve a lot of additional expense. Even if you are not responsible for the specific activity, it is a good idea to share the costs if possible.
- Stay flexible: Not everything will go as planned. Be prepared to make course corrections and be aware that not everything is within the control of you and your co-parent.
Ideally, your parenting plan gives a strong foundation managing the summer months. When couples file for divorce, the first order of business is agreeing upon a plan that realistically works for the children as well as both parents. Family law attorneys can help guide parents to create one that addresses all the needs of the family and even address potential future issues.