During the school year, divorced parents usually have a schedule in place with set parenting times and days. With vacations, summer camps and other activities, summer can be a more challenging time to navigate as a co-parent. Before the school year ends, it’s a good idea to review your parenting plan with your children’s co-parent and communicate about summer plans. One effective way to cut down on conflict is to discuss these issues in family therapy. A therapist can help you come up with an equitable plan that will benefit you and your children while keeping stress to a minimum.
Start planning for the summer as early as possible. If you plan your summer schedule in January, discuss it with your co-parent to avoid conflict over vacations, graduations, family reunions, and summer holidays. It’s also important to agree on how you’re going to split day-to-day parenting time. Always put your children’s needs first when creating a custody schedule and deciding on summer plans. Summer is an exciting time of year for kids and an opportunity to make memories with both parents and explore new experiences.
Many co-parents take the “two weeks on, two weeks off” approach, as it gives some continuity to the time they spend with their kids. If you live close by and normally share custody on different days of the week, this can work too with little disruption to your children’s schedules. Once you have your parenting schedule set, keep in mind that it’s still beneficial to be flexible with summer plans to ensure a fun, relaxing time for you and your kids.
Children need to be heard when making summer plans, so you’re both aware of their needs and the things they’d like to do. It’s particularly important to talk with your older children about their wishes. A family therapy session where everyone is included and has a chance to express their desires can make the summer much more pleasant for everyone.
Coordinating schedules, daycare, vacations, and other activities is just part of the bigger picture when creating a summer co-parenting plan. Kids often feel guilty for leaving one parent alone and may be hesitant to go on a trip if they think one of their parents is going to feel bad. Encourage your children to have fun with their other parent and build a strong relationship. Refraining from negative talk and being considerate and respectful of each other’s feelings will show your children that you have their best interests in mind.
Family therapy can help you create a summer co-parenting schedule that allows you and your kids to better enjoy your time together. To learn more, contact a therapist at Kayenta to schedule an appointment.