Ah, summer. With school out and new schedules in place, keeping everyone on the same page as a co-parent can be tough. But just because the summer months are a little more hectic doesn’t mean co-parenting has to be difficult. Here are seven tips for staying on the same page with your co-parent this summer and ensuring your kids have a fun and stress-free break.
Plan Vacations Ahead of Time
One of the most common struggles co-parents face in the summer is trying to plan vacations. Rather than waiting until the last minute to make arrangements, planning early is helpful. This not only gives both parents time to plan schedules and finances but also avoids any disputes or confusion regarding who has the kids and when. By planning ahead, you can confirm dates, create a schedule, and make sure neither parent misses out on important family time.
Sync Your Schedules
Another helpful tip for summer co-parenting is to sync schedules. Communication is key in any relationship, and co-parenting is certainly no exception. You can avoid scheduling conflicts by sharing schedules and ensuring each parent knows the kids’ schedules. Find a way to keep everything organized, whether through online calendars or simply texting information back and forth.
Setting boundaries is an essential aspect of co-parenting. It’s even more challenging when the kids have more free time to spend with each parent. This is why it’s crucial to align boundaries and parenting styles. Talk with your co-parent and map out the rules in both homes. This way, the kids know what is expected and can easily switch between two homes. While some aspects of parenting may vary, ensure the critical rules and boundaries are consistent throughout both households.
Hold a Family Meeting
One of the best ways to make sure everyone is on the same page is to hold a family meeting between both households. During this meeting, parents and kids can come together to discuss upcoming events, vacations, and changes to the family schedule. Having everyone in one place makes it easier to get everyone on the same page and ask questions. This meeting can also help kids feel more comfortable with the upcoming schedule and avoid any fears or anxieties about going between homes.
Give Kids a Calendar
Consider providing the kids with a calendar that outlines important dates such as vacations, family meetings, parent pick-up times, and other special events. Handing a copy to each family member allows the kids to have control over their changing schedule and prevents any confusion.
Consider Revisiting the Parenting Plan
Depending on the parenting plan in place, summer schedule changes can be challenging for co-parents. In some cases, revisiting the parenting plan and making necessary adjustments may be beneficial. This could include changing pick-up and drop-off times, altering the vacation schedule, or changing visitation agreements. Working through these changes in mediation is a great way to find a new plan that works for everyone as the kids get older.
Remember the Big Picture
Finally, it’s crucial for co-parents to remember the big picture. At the end of the day, co-parenting is about creating a loving and stable environment for the children. While summer vacations and scheduling changes can be stressful, put the kids first and find a solution that works best for everyone involved. Remember that kids notice when their parents work together and can be negatively impacted when they don’t.
Beating the Summer Blues
By planning ahead, syncing schedules and boundaries, communicating, and revisiting the parenting plan if necessary, co-parents can give their kids a fun and stress-free summer. When both parents come together and cooperate, the co-parenting relationship can grow stronger, and the kids can benefit from a healthy and stable family environment.