It’s summer, and that means your child has a few months off from school. All of that free time, however, also means your child’s day doesn’t have the built-in structure that school provided. Adapting to your child’s needs during summer can be hard for any parent, but it can be even more challenging when you’re co-parenting your child with your ex.
Fortunately, there are easier ways to make it through summer when you’re co-parenting with an ex. With some planning and cooperation between you two, it’s possible to not only make it through summer but also to make new, happy memories with your child.
Make a Co-Parenting Plan
If you don’t already have a co-parenting plan or yours doesn’t really meet the challenges that summer brings, there’s never a better time than right now to start on one.
If this is your first summer co-parenting your child, you and your ex should discuss how you’ll split time with your child. Unless ordered otherwise by the court, how you split time is usually up to you and your ex. Because school isn’t a factor, parents can potentially plan on having their children live with them for longer periods of time – especially parents with whom children spend less time when school’s in session.
Follow Your Co-Parenting Plan
Whatever your co-parenting plan contains is up to you and your ex. Having a plan, however, is only useful if both of you intend to follow it. That’s why it’s important for both parties to make a co-parenting plan in good faith and with every intention of following it. Failing to do so can lead to conflict that might boil over into court, which can lead to modifications of the custody and/or visitation agreements.
Share Vacation & Holiday Plans
Ex-spouses and partners probably don’t want to divulge the details of their summer vacation plans to each other, but it can be important to ensure that the co-parenting plan for summer will work. You don’t need to tell your ex your full itinerary, but it might be helpful to give them your departure and arrival dates so that they know when you’ll be unavailable.
When it comes to holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, birthdays, and religious holidays, it’s important to be upfront about your availability and whether or not you think it’s important that your child spend these days with you.
Share Costs for Your Child’s Summer Activities
Many parents like to build structure into their children’s summer by sending them away to day camps, overnight camps, sports, and many other activities that keep them occupied and offer enrichment. When doing so, parents should share the costs of these activities as much as possible. By pooling your resources, you can afford more interesting and valuable opportunities for your child.
Avoid Competing with Your Ex
Whether it’s summer vacations or activities and experiences, parents must avoid competing with each other. Focusing on trying to one-up each other throughout summer can generate further animosity and make it difficult to co-parent.
Not only that, but your child might become aware of the tension or pressure, which can cause a whole host of problems. Whether you’re taking your kid to Hawaii or throwing water balloons at the park, just focus on providing unforgettable and positive experiences.