With this month — March 19, to be exact — marking the official start of spring, many families are already thinking ahead to summer vacation. For families who co-parent, getting a jump on these plans is a smart idea. Many co-parents are understandably daunted by the prospect of navigating weeks of unstructured time when their children are out of school. However, it is possible to ensure a happy and harmonious summer vacation for everyone. 

Implementing the following effective co-parenting strategies for summer vacation can help you and your co-parent quickly transform the challenges of summer vacation into opportunities for growth and connection. Who knows? You might even manage to create meaningful (and happy) memories along the way.

In our experience, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain with these seven time-tested co-parenting strategies. 

  1. Engage in open communication: This tops our list of co-parenting strategies because, as we’ve long witnessed, the value of open communication cannot be overstated. After all, the foundation of successful parenting lies in open, honest, and respectful communication and that doesn’t change just because your marital status has. As summer approaches, sit down with your co-parent to discuss schedules, expectations, and any concerns or preferences regarding childcare arrangements, vacations, and activities. Establishing clear lines of communication from the outset can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts down the road. Open communication is key to conflict avoidance and that’s why we’re big fans of both. 
  1. Shared calendars are lifesavers: Schedule savers, at least! To avoid scheduling conflicts and ensure everyone is on the same page, consider using a shared online calendar to coordinate summer plans. This allows both parents to input important dates, events, and commitments, making it easier to plan and organize shared custody arrangements, vacations, and extracurricular activities. There are plenty of proven co-parenting apps that you might also consider to keep things easy and organized. 
  1. Embrace your most flexible and accommodating nature: The best laid plans fall to waste — you already know this. Summer vacation is no different, and often comes with unexpected twists and turns, whether those look like last-minute changes in plans to inclement weather disrupting outdoor activities. However possible, maintain a spirit of flexibility and adaptability, and be willing to accommodate each other’s needs and preferences as they arise. Remember, co-parenting is about finding common ground and prioritizing the well-being of your children above all else. Keep them front and center and you’ll already have a headstart on a happy summer vacation with your co-parent. 
  1. Prioritize consistency and routine: While summer vacation may be synonymous with relaxation and spontaneity, maintaining a sense of consistency and routine can provide stability and reassurance for children amidst the changes. Work with your co-parent to establish consistent bedtimes, meal times, and daily routines that remain consistent across both households. This can help minimize disruption and ease the transition between homes. Remember, children do best when they know what to expect and can enjoy a sense of predictability, even during otherwise unstructured summer days. 
  1. Book childcare and activities in advance: Anticipate your children’s needs and interests during the summer months, and collaborate with your co-parent to plan age-appropriate activities and childcare arrangements. Whether it’s enrolling them in summer camps, organizing playdates with friends, or scheduling family outings, make sure your children have plenty of opportunities for fun, learning, and socialization throughout the summer.
  1. Keep connected across the miles: If one parent lives in a different location or if summer vacations take children away from their primary residence, make an effort to stay connected and involved. Schedule regular phone or video calls, exchange photos and updates, and involve the children in planning and decision-making whenever possible. Giving them a voice can reassure them that their opinions matter, too, which goes a long way to ensuring harmony for all. By keeping connected across distances, you can reinforce the bond between co-parents and reassure children that they are loved and supported no matter where they are.
  1. Ensure the kids come first — always!: Above all else, prioritize the well-being and happiness of your children in every decision you make. Keep their best interests at the forefront of your co-parenting efforts, and strive to create a supportive, nurturing environment where they feel loved, valued, and secure. Remember, the strength of your co-parenting relationship directly impacts the emotional well-being of your children, both now and in the long term.

We hope these co-parenting strategies will empower you to show your kids a happy and healthy summer. While we hope you won’t have to reach out for any reason, remember that our team is standing by to support whatever is best for you and your family. 

If you need our expertise, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact our team anytime! 

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