How should you tweak a parenting plan for summer vacation?

Ah, summer -- it's already on it's way!

Unfortunately, for a lot of divorced parents, that also means the annual summer headache is about to roll around again as well. During the school year, co-parenting plans often go off without a hitch because everyone's schedule is set in stone. When summer vacation hits and you and your ex are both getting some much-needed vacation time, it can get more complicated to work a co-parenting plan without a fight.

Do you want to make it easier this year? Here is what you should try:

1. Communicate with your ex.

Whether you prefer to do it in person, over the phone or through an email, now is a great time to communicate with your ex-spouse about the summer. This way, everyone has time to plan ahead. If you can agree on things now, you both have time to plan your vacations and know what to expect this summer.

2. Talk to your kids.

If your kids are old enough to weigh in, get their opinions. How long is "too long" away from one parent or the other? Can they tolerate a week or two away at a time? Longer? Less? If the kids are okay with your plans, you'll find the summer much easier to handle.

3. Agree on childcare.

Child care can get tough during the summer. Decide who is responsible for what times, what child care is going to be used (Grandma, camp or a sitter) and stick with it.

4. Plan out the vacations.

This means different things to different couples -- and you and your ex can both benefit by working together.

If you coordinate vacations, you can work it out one of three ways:

  • One of you takes the kids on a much-desired family vacation while the other takes a vacation without the kids at the same time.
  • You each take a vacation without the kids at different times (and the other one keeps them).
  • You both take family vacations with the kids at different times (and the other one respects the dates).

While you and your ex-spouse are no longer really a couple, you'll find that summer goes a lot easier if you still plan your parenting out together. You may even find a sense of fellowship again, simply by helping each other out.

Source: Coparently, "Co-Parenting Through the Summer," accessed March 30, 2018

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