As we head into the first full month of summer break, it’s important to know how to plan that time with kids when you’re coparenting and sharing them with an ex. You want to be able to make the most of your time together, so there are certain steps you can take to ensure your summer break doesn’t fly by without any significant time spent bonding with your kids. When kids have breaks during the summer months, it can be both a great time bonding and a scheduling nightmare. Just because kids are on summer break doesn’t mean parents don’t still have work and obligations, which is why it’s important to have a plan ready for when your kids arrive for any prescheduled visit.
Coordinating with your co-parent can save you both the time and energy of planning unilaterally only to find you have conflicting schedules. In the quest to make summer as fun as possible, parents – especially those who share custody, forget that kids love summer break for its flexibility and lack of structure. They like staying up late and sleeping in, and the carefree attitudes of summer break. So, don’t feel pressured to be the entertainment captain on a cruise ship, you can let your kids relax while also building in some much-needed bonding time.
Here are a few tips to get you started with your plans:
- Plan to Plan: Begin your summer custody and visitation planning with a schedule and open communication. You and your co-parent should plan around any important dates and coordinate to prescheduled events. When the schedule is discussed and you’ve marked fixed dates, you can begin to plan activities and visitation time. If you aren’t into structured planning, that’s okay too. Just by discussing fixed dates and prescheduled events, you can have a better picture of what your schedule is for the break and plan your activities without worry of conflicts.
- Summer Costs: Summer break can quickly become expensive. If you and your co-parent both work traditional jobs outside the home, you may need childcare during the summer. In addition to those expenses, you will also need to prepare for any vacations, enrichment activities, seasonal clothing, like swimwear and sandals, and entertainment costs. Depending on your parenting plan, you may need to have a conversation with your co-parent about summer expenses and set a budget.
- Include the Kids: Co-parenting is hard, and sometimes it’s easy to overthink and worry that your children aren’t getting everything they are entitled to in their childhood. You shouldn’t about whether your kids are having fun, and instead you should ask for their input and their ideas for how they’d like to spend time with you. When children split their time between two households during the summer break, they likely have thought about how they’d like to spend their time with you. When you create an opportunity for your kids to contribute to the summer break itinerary, it can open the door to wonderful memories instead of stressful trips where it feels like you’re forcing kids to participate.
Collaborative and Thoughtful Family Law Attorneys
At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, we can help clients develop strategies revisit parenting plans, modify custody orders, and seek collaborative strategies for working with ex-spouses to create a better solution your entire family. Call us today at (515) 200-7571 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.