I know it’s early, but I wanted to share what I believe to be the key to a stress-free summer time-sharing schedule which is to plan in advance! Why you might ask?
First, keep in mind that kids can become stressed about what their summer schedule will be and they often start talking to friends and thinking about summer activities weeks before school lets out. Even if you don’t yet know what your summer plans are, talk to your co-parent and see what they may be planning. Once you have a framework for the summer planned out, you can add the fun details!
Sit down and talk to the kids about what activities they might have an interest in. Get the kids involved in the planning and make sure their expectations are realistic. Don’t over promise or blame the other parent for decisions the child perceives to be negative. Children should understand that both parents will be involved in jointly planning schedules and activities that affect them. Planning can reduce stress regarding the unknown and add excitement for their upcoming summer!
Plan In Advance
Second, summer can be a big stress for parents too! If you are like most people, you already have a busy life. Now you may have to arrange extra activities, plan a vacation, coordinate schedules with the other parent or budget for unplanned expenses. I know it isn’t easy. I also know it is usually more difficult to do these things at the last minute. Delaying summer time-sharing decisions can quickly become more challenging and frustrating for both parents. Again, my experience has taught me that planning in advance will reduce your stress.
Fix Problems; Don’t Ignore Them
Finally, as children grow up and families change over the years, previous parenting plans can sometimes start to become difficult to work with. Children change schools and develop interests in activities nobody ever contemplated, parents move, remarry, change jobs and schedules change. These are all perfectly normal changes, and many were not predicted at the time the parenting plan was written. Therefore, you need to allow time to change your parenting plan if needed.
Remember that time is your friend! Planning for summer time-sharing can make a difference between stress and excitement for everyone.