Tips For Successfully Co-Parenting This Summer
It can be difficult enough to agree on how to raise children when you are married. Trying to agree on parenting once your marriage or partnership has dissolved? A challenge to say the least. With summer right around the corner, you may be about to face some additional co-parenting challenges due to your summer possession schedule. Here are some tips to help the summer go smoothly with your family.
- Purchase a calendar – Maybe more than one. The Standard Possession Schedule can be difficult to follow during the school year and even more so in the summer. Purchasing a couple large calendars solely to mark what days you and your ex-spouse will have possession of the kids and vacation plans can help everyone stay organized. It sounds obvious, but most of us have work calendars and reminders on our phones now. A physical calendar that you and your kids can reference will be a life-line. Most dollar stores carry the large calendars with the big date boxes that will work perfectly for this.
- Stay connected without smothering – One of the benefits to parenting now is being able to stay connected. That two-week long vacation your children are going on with the other parent may feel like eternity. So, check in with the kids. If you and your spouse are amicable enough, you can designate specific times for you to FaceTime or just call the kids. Limit the calls and FaceTime requests to 2, 3 times at the most, per week. You do not want your kids resenting your contact and also do not want to interfere in their time with the other parent. Similar rules for texting, use discretion. It is challenging enough to keep our kids’ generation off of their phones – don’t make it harder.
- Be supportive – You may feel some sort of satisfaction when your child calls and says they miss you and want to come home. Enjoy it, but don’t indulge or encourage it. Of course, kids are going to miss the other parent, they are kids, and they love both of you. Acknowledge that they miss you and you miss them too, but remind them that this is their time with the other parent and to enjoy it. You should want your children to love and have a relationship with the other parent even after your marriage or relationship has ended. If you do not, it may be time to look deeper into that issue and seek professional help to resolve those feelings.
- Be flexible – Your spouse wants to bring the kids to Aunt Barb’s 80th birthday and it falls during your weekend, here is where flexibility comes in. Co-parenting during the school year involves flexibility around sports, friends’ birthdays, and co-parenting over the summer only adds camps, concerts, and an endless list of other activities to the mix. Being flexible so your kids do not miss out on events when they are with the other parent is key. At some point you may need the flexibility favor returned from the other parent.
- Enjoy – Let’s face it, if you had your kids 100% of the time (as fabulous as it sounds), you would be wishing for a kid-free weekend to yourself. So, while you will miss your kids, and even worry about them a bit, take some time for yourself! Maybe some golf, a weekend get-away, adult only beach day, brunch with friends, read a book sans interruption – take advantage of not having to worry about a babysitter or arranging a kid-friendly activity. The summer will be over before you know it, make it count.