There is never a good time in the year to divorce. But divorce is a reality of life. Some divorce in the winter. Some divorce in the summer. Whenever the divorce does occur, there will be many ‘firsts’. The first Christmas. The first Halloween. The first Easter. Even the first set of birthdays. For all these events, there will be a mix of emotions felt by everybody in the family.
The summer holidays have always been considered the fun months for children. No parent wants ruin their children’s summer vacation due to the stress of a divorce.
When divorcing parents develop a parenting plan, it is usually built around the regular school year with the regular school hours in mind. However, working parents understand that planning summer camps and activities for children is an absolute must to ensure kids enjoy their summer break from school. Many parents find summer camps that mirror the school year schedule, so as to create a seamless transition for parents with no need to modify the parenting schedule. But even when parents maximize the kids’ summer camp registration, there is often a gap of 2-4 summer weeks. Good planning requires parents to plan their own vacation with the children for these gaps in time.
Here are some tips on how to best manage summer vacation planning for divorced parents:
TIP #1: Start Planning Early
Begin planning summer vacation in May. This will allow enough time for you to exchange vacation schedules with the other parent. This will permit you to confirm registration for summer camp and thereby identify the gaps in the summer schedule so that this time can be shared with the other parent.
TIP #2: Share Your Plans
Share your vacation plan details with the other parent. Even if the other parent hasn’t requested it, proactively share your hotel and transportation details with your former spouse to keep them informed. Although you may not need to share every detail of your vacation, sharing important information and plans may be appreciated and can be very beneficial to your children. Remember, what goes around comes around.
TIP #3: Facilitate Communication
Foster and facilitate daily contact between the kids and the other parent during the vacation. Offer to connect the other parent with the kids via text, phone call, FaceTime or Skype. That way, the other parent feels good knowing that the kids are happy and the kids are more at ease . Although it may seem inconvenient at the time, resist the feeling that it is an intrusion on your time.
TIP #4: Include A Self-Care Plan
Recognize that while you are with the children full-time for a longer period, you will feel moments of stress and anxiety. This is normal. Make sure that you take time to yourself to recharge your batteries. This might involve you placing the children in an activity for the afternoon or arranging a babysitter at night. However you do it, recognize that you too will need a break from 24-7 parenting in order to be the very best parent that you can be on your summer vacation.
I hope these tips help make your summer break fun and enjoyable for you and your kids.
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