Keeping kids happy and engaged during the summer is already challenging enough, but parents who are divorced may find that it is even more difficult. Depending on how parenting time is set up, there may be some adjustments and changes that need to be made in order to keep things running smoothly over the summer.
Here are some ideas on what you can do to ensure your kids summer vacation is fun and relaxing for everyone:
1. Discuss Your Schedule in Advance
We understand that communication can definitely be a challenge when it comes to divorced parents. However, if you can learn to be an effective communicator at a few key points throughout the year, it can definitely help you better enjoy your time with your kids. Remember that communication is a 2-way street.
Choose a time a few weeks before summer vacation begins to sit down together or over the phone and discuss schedules, activities and vacations. Be sure you enter this meeting with an open mind and willing attitude. If you can be accommodating to your ex, you will find they will be more willing to work with you. Have your plans laid out and ready to explain and then be ready to stick to the schedule once things are set in place.
2. Give and Take When it Comes to Schedules
Most divorce decrees outline a parenting plan that provides a clear schedule of when each parent should have their children. While it may take some time to get used to, once you are accustomed to this schedule, it can actually help to keep your time organized and running smoothly through the school year. Once summer hits, things may change. You may have a vacation planned that includes your children, but it falls on dates and times that are already scheduled for your ex.
Depending on the relationship you have with your ex-spouse, you may be able to make alterations or changes to parenting time that accommodates your vacation plans. Understand that, if you are asking for a change, you will probably be required to give a little too. Be prepared for a little “give and take” to ensure you get to spend the time you want with your kids.
3. Child Care
When kids are out of school for the summer, it can create new challenges when it comes to childcare. There may be a need to discuss childcare needs in more detail as summer approaches. In some cases, this will lead to additional costs…unexpected costs that may seem like a burden.
Be sure to refer to your divorce decree carefully when considering the cost of additional childcare in the summer. You may even want to discuss it with your attorney to be sure you are handling it correctly. Fighting about childcare or being too accommodating can both lead to issues down the road.
4. Keep Your Kids in Mind – Always!
Above all, take some time to remember how great summer vacation was for you when you were a kid and make sure you are providing the same atmosphere for your kids. Telling children who are used to spending part of their summers with cousins or grandparents that these traditions are over because of the divorce can be devastating. This is also true when older kids want to spend time with close friends or attend Scout, athletic or church camps.
Keep a cool head and enter into summer vacation with a positive outlook. Focus on your kids and their happiness first. If you need help enforcing your divorce decree or asking for changes, call Naegle & Crider Attorneys at Law at 480-378-9000.