Co-Parenting Tips: Summer Fun After Divorce

Summertime evokes thoughts of fun, adventure and vacations.  For families navigating divorce, it can also bring some stress and uncertainty.  With the right strategies, however, it’s possible to create a seamless transition that fosters collaboration and ensures the children (and you) have an enjoyable and fun summer.

Summer Co-Parenting

Whether you’re scheduling camps or planning a family vacation, collaborative co-parenting can make the process smoother. Here are some tips:

  • Establish a Clear Summer Schedule:  To avoid confusion last minute, creating a detailed summer schedule well in advance provides clarity and prevents misunderstandings. Outline key dates, such as holidays, planned vacations, and other commitments to ensure both parents have a comprehensive overview. A shared digital calendar can streamline planning, helping both parents stay up-to-date and avoid conflicting plans. This proactive approach can foster a peaceful and harmonious summer for everyone involved.
  • Prioritize Open Communication: Communication is essential for effective co-parenting. Keep communication lines open and prioritize honesty to prevent miscommunication and misunderstandings. Share details regarding summer activities, health concerns, or unexpected schedule changes promptly. Parents should choose a communication method that works best for them and stick to it. That might be by phone, email, or text. Try to use neutral, respectful language to keep conversations constructive, focusing on what’s best for the children rather than dwelling on past grievances.
  • Plan Activities Together: While spending time with each parent separately is valuable, shared family outings can help children transition to their new family dynamic. Discuss and plan activities together, considering your children’s interests. These outings can range from a day at the zoo to an outdoor movie night, emphasizing a unified parental front. Doing so can reinforce the children’s sense of stability and can show that, despite the divorce, they can still count on their parents to come together for their benefit.
  • Discuss Finances: Address costs for camps, activities, and summer clothes beforehand to avoid disagreements.
  • Flexibility is Key: Even with a predetermined schedule, unexpected situations can arise. Be prepared to handle them calmly. A fair, flexible approach reduces friction and increases the likelihood of a peaceful summer. Unforeseen events may necessitate changes to plans, and parents who can adapt show goodwill and understanding, fostering a collaborative environment. Additionally, ensure both parents get a fair share of time with the children. This may require adjusting custody schedules to accommodate summer vacations and special activities, which could mean compromising.
  • Create New Traditions: Divorce often disrupts established family traditions, making it essential to create new ones. New traditions provide continuity for children, giving them positive experiences to look forward to each summer. Ideas include:
    • Annual trips to a favorite theme park or national park
    • Trying out a new vacation locale each summer or finding a new favorite vacation spot that you return to every summer
    • Backyard camping adventure or going camping with another family
    • Summer service projects
    • DIY summer Olympics
    • Start a summer garden
    • Family-friendly sports or outdoor activities
  • Practice Self-Care: Don’t overlook your own well-being during the summer. If your children will spend an extended period with the other parent, take time to focus on your own physical and emotional health during that time.

Focus on the Kids

Above all, keep the children’s well-being central to decisions made during the summer. Engage them in planning activities and gathering feedback on what they enjoyed or what could be improved. Doing so reinforces that their voices are heard and valued, which is crucial during the changes of post-divorce life. Balancing structure with fun gives children a sense of predictability while fostering an exciting summer.

Bring Harmony

Co-parenting during the summer can be a harmonious experience when approached with thoughtful planning, open communication, and flexibility. Establishing a comprehensive schedule, maintaining respectful communication, and prioritizing the children’s well-being ensures that both parents can collaborate effectively. While it may require difficult compromises, the shared goal of providing a fun, enriching summer for the children makes it worthwhile. With the right approach, co-parents can lay the foundation for a positive and cooperative future, setting an example of collaboration that benefits the entire family.