As summer vacation time arrives your kids may be doing cartwheels around the house because they’re so happy they don’t have to go to school for the next couple of months. Meanwhile, you may be cringing because summer vacation also means a vacation from routines and schedules if you co-parent with your ex.
Follow these great co-parenting tips for summer and everyone can enjoy their time off and still maintain a schedule.
Plan ahead with the other parent. With 3 months off and vacations in the mix, it’s best to plan ahead and to synch up with the other parent. This includes coordinating vacations or any special gatherings where your child should be present. Some parents may choose to spend two weeks with their child while others may do a week at a time. Once you know the other parent’s plans you can work out a schedule that will hopefully work for everyone. If not, compromise is the name of the game.
Get on the same page about any summer expectations. If one parent allows a child to sleep in until noon and not do any of the summer reading homework while the other does just the opposite, it sends a mixed message to your child and can lead to disgruntled children and frustrated parents. If your ex is amenable, discuss any summer expectations so that the rules are the same no matter which parent your child is with at the time. Most children thrive on consistency, and this is a great way to avoid too many battles with your kids over screen time and sleeping in.
Have a master calendar for yourself that contains everybody’s schedule. With so many events, activities, camps, vacations, etc., it’s nearly impossible to remember what’s happening when or who is supposed to be where when. If you have a master calendar for yourself that contains everybody’s schedule (including your own) you can see what’s going on and where everyone will be.
While some people do this on their phones, it’s best to do it on an actual paper calendar that you can see and touch. Although technology is great we all know phones can fail or break at any time. Then what happens to your calendar? Having an actual paper calendar that you can see and write on will help to better organize everyone’s summer schedule. Bonus: your kids can check the calendar and know where they are supposed to be, and when, so they can help you with reminders!
Make memories. Summer is all about making memories. This means giving your child your full attention when they’re with you. Stay off of social media, focus on them and try to plan fun activities you’ll both enjoy. This also means to allow the other parent to make memories and not become jealous. Children cherish time with each parent. Don’t make it a competition and don’t belittle whatever activity your child does with your ex. These are special times you won’t get back, so make the most of them!
While you may still hit some co-parenting bumps in the road over the summer, following these tips can make it a smoother ride for everyone.