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8 Tips for Effective Summertime Co-Parenting

Co-parenting your children after a divorce can be difficult for parents, but it is often the best choice for children. It can be difficult to manage parenting arrangements once summer comes and the kids are no longer in school. Even the most comprehensive parenting plans may need some tweaking once the school year ends. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time with your children this summer, while keeping your co-parent happy with your arrangements.

1. Communicate with Your Co-Parent

It can’t be said enough—communication is the key to effective co-parenting. Even if you are no longer married, your co-parent is your teammate when it comes to raising your children. Once school is over for the summer, your family’s schedule may be much more flexible. With this new-found freedom to make plans, you should also remember to communicate your plans with your co-parent to avoid conflicting plans. Be sure to keep in touch with them, and ask that they tell you about their plans.

2. Plan Ahead

Communication is important, but it can only do so much to help when you spring last minute plans on your co-parent. Make any plans as far as you can in advance, and be sure to go over the details of your plans with your co-parent. It is likely that they will have summer plans as well, so you will need to work together to develop a schedule for both of your summer plans. A well-defined schedule can still have some flexibility and can make it easier to form vacation plans.

3. Talk to Your Kids

Your children, especially older ones, should be involved in your summer planning. Ask about what they would like to do this summer, and if they have preferences for how they spend their break. Take their desires and needs into consideration when you and your co-parent are making plans.

4. Coordinate Vacation Plans

If you’ve already worked with your co-parent to determine when you are able to take your children on vacation, you will need to coordinate your plans with them. Your co-parent should have information about where you are going and what your plans are. They also should have a way to contact your children. If your co-parent doesn’t feel comfortable with your plans or feels that they don’t have enough information, they may try to prevent the trip or retaliate. Work together to ensure that everyone in your family feels comfortable with your vacation plans.

5. Support Your Children’s Feelings

You should encourage your children to spend time with their other parent. They may feel that they are betraying you or may feel guilty if you make it clear that you don’t approve of their time with your co-parent. Set aside your feelings and let your children know that you hope they have lots of fun with their other parent and you want them to have a healthy relationship with both parents.

If you take your children on a trip, be aware that there may be times when they miss the other parent. It can be difficult, but you can encourage your children to contact your co-parent. Arrange for phone or Skype calls during your trip to help ease the homesickness your kids may feel. The change in routine can be stressful, so it is important that you try to understand your children’s feelings.

6. Be Flexible

Not everything will go according to plan. Try to be flexible and work with your co-parent to reach a compromise. Neither of you may get exactly what you want, but you can reach an agreement that allows both of you to spend time with your kids.

7. Plan Summer Camps or Childcare

If you and your co-parent both need to work, you will need to arrange childcare for your children. You may use daycare programs, or you may want to enroll your kids in summer camp or a sports camp. Sit down with your co-parent and figure out what your plans will be for childcare. Decide which parent will pay for what share of these activities and which parent is responsible for enrolling your children. You may decide to split costs and responsibility, or you each may be responsible for enrolling your child in and paying for your choice in activities. Talk to your children about what they are interested in, as well.

8. Focus on Making Memories

It can be frustrating to negotiate with your co-parent for summer plans, but you shouldn’t get so caught up in fighting for your plans that you forget to make memories with your children. Even if your co-parent doesn’t agree to your road trip across the country, you can still enjoy spending time with your children at home. Focus on giving your children our full attention and participating in their activities, and show your child that you care about their interests and what they do when they aren’t with you. Show your kids that their happiness is important to you.

Child custody negotiations can be stressful, but our Bergen County child custody lawyers may be able to help. Our team at Moskowitz Law Group, LLC understands the difficult parents can face when trying to make the best choices for their children after divorce. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation.