1). Share vacation plans as soon as possible – don’t wait until the last minute to discuss with your co-parent what your plans are for the summer. Summers aren’t always predictable especially if you have multiple kids and birthdays, sports schedules, reunions etc. These various schedules will require both parents participating. It is so important for us to work together and having conversations in advance or even setting up a dinner/lunch or coffee time to specifically discuss summer plans is so important to having a great summer.
2). Get your childrens input for their summer plans – children do better when they have a routine and structure. Make sure their needs and interested are being considered during vacation planning stages. If they are old enough, talk with them about they want to spend their time. You may find out the kids want to stay in town and play soccer instead of going out of town on vacation. Giving children a voice about what they do will relieve pressure of one parent having to explain to the other parent why their child does not want to do certain things this year on summer break. It is also important to make sure that the kids have time to be kids. Don’t have everything scheduled so much that there isn’t time for a KID to be just BE.
3). Have communication options available while you are out of town – If you are planning an out of town vacation this summer and your children will be away from their parent, it doesn’t mean that your child shouldn’t be able to speak to their other parent. Additionally don’t take it personal if your child misses the other parent. It is natural for your child to miss the other parent, so you shouldn’t feel hurt if they miss the other parent. Your understanding way can help ease the worries by planning fun activities but also planning plenty of time to talk to or FT the other parent.
4). Avoid “being in competition with the other co-parent – do not try and one-up your co-parent with who has the better vacation. This will only create angry and resentment between you and your co-parent and could create guilt with the child. Ultimately children just want to spend time with their parents and don’t really care about a fancy vacation. The best summer memories are not created by money or material objects but by quality time.
5). Be Flexible – Support your child’s relationship with the other co-parent. If you are traveling out of town, make sure the other co-parent has all contact and travel information. Make sure if you child is going away with the other co-parent, that they have doc info, sign any travel docs needed etc. If your co-parent doesn’t see your children regularly, make sure they know your children(s) capabilities regarding hiking, swimming, allergies etc. You ultimately want them to have a safe, happy and successful time together.
6). Make other plans/relax - for all my single moms you may not be able to afford a nice vacation, plan a trip to the zoo, art class, dance class, a day trip exploring local parks, a day for a water park, local public pool. Take a surprise day off work to plan a picnic. Create memories and don’t feel guilt about what you can do for your children. Relax and stop pressuring yourself to creat the perfect summer for your child. You are a parent, so plan a picnic outside, ice cream cones and fun running thru a sprinkler.
7). Think of yourself – If you are going to have long periods this summer without the children, plan some adult fun while your child is away. Explore new places, read some books, meet people and expand your own interest. Remember that your co-parent loves the children just like you do and will act in their best interest.