Summer is here and with school coming to an end, your children are looking forward to the long summer vacation. As a divorced parent, you may have some concerns about the summer vacation. With your children now home from school, the regular visitation routine will switch to the vacation schedule. This may present challenges as you and your former spouse coordinate vacation activities for the children. If this is your first summer as a divorced father, you be wondering how to handle your new situation.
Whether you are newly divorced or have been divorced for several years, this Summer Checklist will help limit your stress and keep the vacation fun for your children.
Review Your Parenting Plan
If you haven’t looked over the terms of your parenting plan, go and read it over right now. The parenting plan contains everything you and your ex-spouse agreed to during the divorce. You likely have a block of time with your children over the summer break. Pay careful attention to how much time you will have and how to coordinate it. Is your time a set date or do you need to contact your ex-spouse by a certain date to confirm the schedule. Having the details of your parenting plan clear in mind will reduce headaches and conflicts later.
Communicate and Schedule Early
You and your ex-spouse likely have a lot of great activities planned for your children. Your children also likely have things they want to do over the break. Take the time to discuss and plan out everything as much as possible early. Making a list of all the planned trips, summer camps, and other activities will help avoid any schedule conflicts. Since both you and your ex-spouse will likely be taking time off to spend with the children, it is important to agree on dates as soon as possible. Setting a schedule early will reduce stress and help you enjoy time off with your children.
Children look forward to summer all year long as a break from school and time to have fun with their parents. There is no harm in yielding and being flexible about the schedule when it means more fun for your children. If your children are older, they may also have plans of their own. Make sure to accommodate time they want to spend with their friends as well as summer activities they want to do. Everyone can be a winner when your children get to spend quality time during the summer with each parent.
Keep it Fun
Especially if you are newly divorced, you may feel that summer vacation is a contest with your former spouse. One you can win by spending the most time with the children or planning the best vacation activities. You may be tempted to argue over the schedule or attempt to disrupt the vacation plans of your ex-spouse. Such games will only be harmful for your children. If this is the first summer after your divorce, your children are likely still adjusting to the new situation. Fighting over their vacation will quickly douse all the fun. Don’t use summer vacation to rehash the issues of your divorce, focus on the great time your children are going to have.
Summer is a great time for parents. You have the opportunity to have fun with your children and build lasting memories. Take full advantage of this time with your kids.