It is that time of year again. The weather is getting warmer and school is coming to an end. And with many public places opening up again, many people are rushing to make plans for the summer.
Summer break can be both a time of relaxation and hectic activity – and both experiences are often compounded for divorced parents and their children. Whether North Carolina parents are planning vacations or signing the kids up for a summer camp, there are two things parents must remember as they approach this season.
Make a plan and stick to it
This may sound simple. In fact, it is something divorced parents already have to do as they prepare for their parenting time and keep the other parent informed about certain events – such as a visit with the grandparents.
However, planning for summer activities is even more critical. It is important on two separate levels:
- Individual plans: If one parent plans a vacation with the kids, they must plan ahead to get their booking, tickets and itinerary in order. They should also make sure these plans line up with their parenting time and then give the other parent as much notice as possible.
- Cooperative plans: Parents may also have to collaborate on some of the summer’s plans. For example, they should ask the children about activities they want to do. Some parents may have to plan summer daycare together as well for their younger children, especially if both of them work full time.
Parents should address the plan for summer during the process of creating a custody arrangement and parenting schedule. Adhering to this schedule – as well as modifying it, if necessary – is critical. Even so, this often does not account for the specific plans for the summer.
Parents must communicate their plans and any changes
Regardless of parenting styles – such as co-parenting or parallel parenting – there is still some level of communication between divorced parents. And like planning ahead, communicating efficiently and effectively is even more important in the summer. It is critical to:
- Ensure the other parent knows and understands the specific plans
- Inform the other parent about any unexpected changes
It is easy to fall into a routine during the school year. For more than half of the year, school provides a predictable schedule for both parents and kids. Welcoming summer often means changing that routine, and maintaining regular, civil communication can help with that.
The whole family deserves to enjoy the summer holiday. Taking these two steps can help reduce conflict and stress for parents, so they can make the most of the summer break as well.