Successful Co-Parenting. Summer is almost here. That means vacation planning is in full swing for many North Texas families looking to get out of town and spend extra quality time with their kids. That includes newly-divorced couples who cannot wait to create fun memories of their own but now find themselves struggling to be a bit more creative when co-parenting during the summer.
Having a co-parenting relationship means working with each other to make the kids’ lives with each parent as normal as possible. But unlike the rest of the year, when life schedules are a little more routine, summertime can get messy.
This includes having to consider:
- Separate travel plans
- Changing work schedules
- Relatives from both sides who want to see the kids
- Various parties and other family gatherings
This is the time of year when families should be together. So how do you make the most of it, given your situation?
1. Keep your children top of mind
This is where you should start every time. Ensure that your kids feel loved and are happy. Furthermore, do not make your kids choose between parents during the summer and avoid changing things that do not need to be changed. For example, maintain family traditions that the kids had previously looked forward to every year. Bottom line, if you focus on what your kids need and less on what you want, co-parenting during the summer will be much easier.
2. Make a plan but be flexible
Your current co-parenting plan likely includes who gets the kids during certain holidays and different times of the year. This should head off any potential arguments and reduce stress. But do not be afraid to make new arrangements or go off-script. For example, maybe what your former spouse is suggesting is not such a bad idea and will make things easier for everyone. Take a deep breath and consider agreeing to it or meet them halfway. Remember, just because your ex-spouse suggests a plan does not make it a bad one.
3. Do not wait until the last minute to plan
To piggyback off the previous tip, plan early as there is no need to wait until the last minute to make your plans. Even if you have a co-parenting plan in place that works for the rest of the year, it is better to discuss summer vacation plans as early as possible but no later than March as the deadline for declaring your plans under the standard possession schedule is in April. If you do this, both parents have time to negotiate, confirm dates and schedules, etc.
4. Involve your children
You and your former spouse are not the only ones who want to get away this summer. Your kids have probably talked about that trip to Disney or a few summer camps they would like to attend locally. So start talking to them about what they want to do, which may or may not include what you already planned. Their ideas can guide you and your former spouse as you continue to map out the summer and plan fun activities that everyone can enjoy.
5. Set a good example
Be an excellent communicator and err on giving too much information. Check with the other parent before making new summer plans. If there is a problem, show that you can work it out. And if necessary, seek professional guidance as a family. The more unified you and the other parent look, the more unified you will be in your kids’ eyes. This leads to fewer problems in other areas of how you look to your kids.
6. If you opt for separate summer vacation plans, touch base often
If the kids are spending two weeks during the summer with your husband in Hawaii, it is critical that they feel like they can be open with you about the relationship they are having with their other parent, and vice versa. Talk positively about the other parent, check-in often so that both parents are as involved as possible and celebrate the good times. If your kids are not enthusiastically telling you about what they did with their other parent, there is probably something that needs to be addressed. In these situations, it is a really good idea to have family counseling, so your kids understand that it is okay to love and enjoying spending time with both parents and that it does not mean they love you less.
7. Talk about travel plans
This is another fantastic co-parenting during the summer tip, as no parent should ever try to one-up or surprise the other with a vacation they did not know about. Talk with each other about where you would each like to take the kids, if either of you prefers a spending limit, and any other details that might help make things easier.
8. Expect to share costs
If possible, share the cost for one or several getaways — especially if one parent is struggling to cover expenses. The bottom line is that summer can get expensive when you have kids. Prepare in advance for summer-related expenses, and do not be afraid to offer or ask for help from your former spouse.
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
As a parent, an essential duty is to show your children what a healthy relationship looks like after divorce – especially during the summer. If you are a dad, your role with your daughter is what she will base relationships on going forward. Boys will see how you treat their mother.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue. Our staff is always available. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.