7 Tips for Co-Parenting Over the Summer


Summertime can be a demanding time of year for many families. As the days get longer, so do the commitments. Planning who is going to take care of the kids during vacation days and finding ways to keep them entertained throughout the season can be challenging. Co-parenting often comes with plenty of unique challenges, but having appropriate guidelines and expectations set from both sides can help make sure the needs of the whole family are addressed throughout this special season. Here are seven tips for making successful co-parenting arrangements that put your children first during the summer months.

  1. Share Plans As Soon As Possible

Planning ahead is essential when it comes to forming holiday plans with children who have divorced or separated parents. It is important that both co-parents take the initiative early in the year to plan how they would like to divide the child's summer holidays. Alternating years can often be a good way to keep things fair and avoid any arguments over conflicting plans. Not only should the summer holidays be organized in advance, but other events such as birthdays and graduations should also be discussed ahead of time by both parents to ensure those special occasions can still be enjoyed together.

Examples of what to discuss with your ex:

  • Summer plans: Where, when, how long, etc.
  • Children’s activities: camping, vacations, road trips, visiting family, etc.
  • Changes in visitation schedules
  • How holidays/birthdays will be celebrated
  1. Plan for Summer Expenses

Co-parenting isn't just about deciding who has custody when; the financial aspect can have a big impact as well. One of the most important parts of effective co-parenting over the summer is determining who will be responsible for expenses. It may be too costly for one parent to pay for all activities and vacations alone. Therefore, communication between both parents is key in order to work out any possible discrepancies. Communicating with your ex about who is responsible for certain costs is an efficient solution that allows both parents to share the financial obligations that comes with raising children together.

Possible summer expenses to discuss include:

  • Vacations
  • Flights
  • Summer Camps
  • Summer Education Programs
  • Sports Clubs
  • Extracurricular Activities
  1. Agree on Routines

Summer break is often associated with fun activities and relaxation; however, it can sometimes be a struggle to make sure children stay on regulated schedules. Keeping routines consistent between households can help this transition enormously; having the same eating times and bedtime across different settings can foster a sense of consistency that many kids thrive on. Stanford Health notes that consistency for younger children can help children feel more comfortable and develop emotional security.

A few aspects to keep similar between household may include:

  • Eating schedules
  • Screen time
  • Chores
  • Sleep schedules
  • Curfew
  1. Review Your Custody Schedule

There's a lot to consider when forming a summer custody schedule. Many co-parents find it beneficial to review their existing plan and make any necessary adjustments before the season begins. This is especially important if you typically have alternating weekly schedules, as unexpected vacations or activities could throw these plans off track.

As an alternative, some parents prefer to adopt a looser agreement that can be easily adapted as needs arise. Putting any special arrangements into writing will help both parents know what to expect and make the whole process much smoother.

  1. Include Your Kids

As the summer holiday approaches, it is important to check in with your kids and invite them to have a say in their summer plans. Giving children the opportunity to participate in decision making can help foster their growth and development, as well as make them feel valued and empowered. Ask them what they would like to do over the break, and take into account their needs, interests, and age level when deciding on activities. Although allowing them input doesn’t mean you have to honor every single one of their requests, it is essential to involve them in order for the summer planning process to be successful.

  1. Be Flexible

Vacations, changes in routine, and being with the other parent can be hard for some kids. Plans can change last minute or completely fall through. Ultimately, remember that even when vacations, trips, and other activities do not go according to plan, be there to support your child in these changes. It’s important to provide comfort and communicate modifications in plans with your child as needed.

Communicating about your children with your co-parent can be helpful as well. You can keep up on how your children are doing over the summer on trips and in activities.

  1. Avoid Competition

When co-parenting, it’s important for both parents to stay focused on the needs of the children, rather than competing with one another to provide a “better” holiday experience. What matters most is that children feel loved and cared for by their parents. By not creating jealousy or guilt between custodial and noncustodial parents, kids are more likely to have a positive, memorable experience that doesn't involve unhealthy comparisons.

Summertime can be one of the most challenging times of year for co-parents, especially if it involves extra scheduling hassles or unexpected expenses. However, with a little planning, flexibility, and mutual communication between the co-parents, summer fun can be achieved.

It is important to remember to remain open to working together. Discuss and plan out how family activities and child-care arrangements will work out for everyone involved. If disagreements arise, focus on understanding each other's needs as best as possible since that is what will ultimately offer the greatest benefit for your children. All in all, with these tips in mind, having an enjoyable summer with your children is still possible.

Our attorneys at Jetton & Meredith, PLLC are proud to support our clients in family law. If you have questions or concerns about custody, visitation, or other persisting issues after divorce, reach out to our law attorneys.

Call today at (704) 931-5535.