3 Simple Steps for Successful Co-Parenting During the Summer Months
By David Dowling, JD, MDR
Parenting is difficult. Throw in 10 weeks of summer break, and things get crazy. By the end of the summer parents around the world are counting down the days for school to start again, like children count down the days until the start of summer. It’s a challenge to entertain children during the summer months, but things get more complicated when you’re co-parenting. Over the past few decades, summers have become more and more complicated for parents. Gone are the days of playing with neighborhood friends. Now summers are scheduled with camps, classes, play dates, and family vacations.
It might seem strange to think about how to co-parent during the summer break when children are returning to school, but now is the best time to consider critical steps that might help everyone next year.
It’s almost impossible to have a successful summer without proper planning, but it’s also tough to plan when you’re considering two households. So many issues can come up. As children get older, their plans and schedules are filled with summer practice for sports and other activities. They also want to schedule their own time with friends. One useful tool that can help is setting up a shared online calendar. This will enable both parents to see everything that’s scheduled for the summer and hopefully reduce conflict.
Communication is the key to co-parenting, especially during the summer months. Today we have more technology than ever, but we haven’t figured out how to use it effectively. Texting can be a quick and straightforward way to send a message. A couple of things to consider before you hit send. Read the message to ensure it’s clear and conveys key information about the child(ren) and any changes to the calendared plans. Don’t over communicate; there’s a chance you’ll complicate things and make someone frustrated. Remember to keep communications simple, clear and direct.
Finally, when it comes to children, it’s essential to be flexible. As every parent knows, children get sick, plans change and emotions can get the best of our little ones. To avoid conflict, both parents need to be flexible with their schedules. Parents always say their children come first, but too often we put our own plans ahead of our children.
During the summer months, it’s more challenging to stick to a set schedule, so try to create a plan that everyone has access to, remember to communicate when adding to or changing the schedule, and always try to be flexible.
Need help getting a parenting plan set before the kids get back into school? Contact California Family Mediation Center at (949) 274-8210 for details