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A Guide to Co-Parenting Over the Summer

For divorced parents, the summer break can be different than it is for most other families. Although you likely have a parenting plan in place that addresses how this season will be handled, it does not mean you will not hit a few obstacles here and there. After all, life does not always go according to plans, so it is important to be flexible and to be able to accommodate any unexpected life events. Being stubborn will not get either of you very far, so try to keep the lines of communication open and be willing to compromise.

Working with Your Co-Parent this Summer

Planning ahead is the most effective way to prevent any unnecessary conflicts from arising during the summer break. However, you should also take your children’s wishes into account as well. Keep in mind that your kids look forward to having some time off from school and this is a special time for them to relax and have fun. You and your co-parent should find out what they would like to do and to try to incorporate any reasonable demands into your plans for the summer break. Otherwise, despite your best efforts, your children might not be happy with any of the plans you and your former spouse have in store for them.

If you cannot afford to take the kids away for a vacation, remember that the summer is not about going on pricey trips to incredible locations, but rather about building memories. Even if your co-parent is able to afford a trip, this is not a competition. Think of other ways in which you and the kids can have a good time. Go to the movies, visit the zoo, or go on a bike ride. The possibilities are endless and they do not have to cost a fortune. Your children are not going to remember the price tag on the activities you did, but they will cherish the memories you create with them.

Here are some other tips you can follow to be a better co-parent during the summer:

  • Be understanding of your kids: Some kids, particularly younger ones, might get stressed out while away on vacation and away from their other parent for a longer amount of time than they are probably used to. If they appear to be sad, do not take it personally or react with anger. Coping is an ongoing process and they need your understanding.
  • Let them stay in contact: Even if it is your turn to be with the kids, there is no need to put an embargo on your kids’ ability to communicate with their other parent. Be reasonable and allow them to communicate with one another. Your co-parent will likely return the favor.
  • Engage in some self-care: You might get a little lonely when your kids are not around, but instead of getting anxious or sulking, focus on doing something nice for yourself. Self-care is an important part of being an effective co-parent since it will relieve some of your anxieties and fears. Go out to dinner with friends or run a nice hot bath for yourself to decompress.

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