For divided families that include minor children, summertime is a period when routines change, and children are free from school obligations. This offers a unique opportunity for quality family time. However, because both parents and children have unique needs in the summer, scheduling co-parenting time during these months requires foresight, flexibility and proactive communication.
For co-parents who do not yet have summer schedules outlined in their parenting plans – and those who may need to revise existing plans to meet their families’ needs – creating these schedules well in advance can be beneficial for everyone involved.
Scheduling co-parenting time during the summer months
If you and your co-parent aren’t yet on the same page about your summer plans, you’ll want to begin discussions about your needs and preferences as soon as possible. Yes, it’s still winter, but making this effort will allow both of you ample time to request time off work, plan vacations, enroll children in summer camps and more. When planning, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:
- Prioritize your children’s interests: Consider your children’s ages, interests and any specific needs when planning. What may have worked for them a few summers ago may not be appropriate for them now.
- Remain flexible (when you can) and fair: Flexibility is key in summer planning. Strive for a fair distribution of time that allows children to enjoy summer with both parents. Be open to adjusting schedules if needed, keeping the children’s best interests in mind.
- Address special events and holidays: Acknowledge and plan for holidays, birthdays or other significant family events. Ensure that these special days are considered in the schedule.
When planning, keep in mind that clear focused communication is essential. Discuss each parent’s expectations and plans for the summer. Utilize written schedules or co-parenting apps to keep track of plans and minimize misunderstandings.
By approaching summer scheduling proactively in these ways – ideally while embodying a collaborative spirit – you and your co-parent can work to create a positive and memorable summer experience for everyone.