Co-parenting over summer break can become a new kind of challenge. But with these eight tips, you can rock the two-house summer.
Summer is fun when you’re hopping from the beach to the mall. But it’s not so exciting when you’re hopping from house to house and arguing about who gets the kids.
While co-parenting can become a new sort of challenge during summer break, this time of the year can still be full of carefree days and family adventures. With careful coordination, open communication, and flexibility, you can ensure a smooth experience for yourself and your kids. You won’t even have to ask how to co-parent over summer break; you’ll just naturally do it.
We want this summer to be all about embracing the season, creating lasting memories, and fostering a harmonious co-parenting dynamic. Use these simple tips to set the stage for a joyful and enriching co-parenting summer that everyone will love.
This two-house summer is going to rock!
1. Collaborate on a Summer Schedule
Summer break is long, so you probably have a lot going on or a lot that you want to do. Sit down with the other parent and create a detailed summer schedule that outlines custody arrangements, vacation plans, and any other important events. Consider each parent’s availability, work schedules, and the child’s preferences and commitments. And don’t forget to plan for the fun!
2. Plan Vacations and Activities in Advance
Taking your kid on a last-minute vacation out of country is too hard on co-parents, so discuss and plan summer vacations and activities well in advance. Consult with the other parent when making travel plans to ensure they align with the custody schedule. And sharing itineraries, contact information, and important details can help both parents feel more at ease during the child’s absence.
3. Prioritize Open Communication
If your child has gone on a long trip with the other parent, summer can feel long and lonely. Establish open lines of communication with the other parent to ensure you’re both well-informed about the child’s activities, appointments, and any changes to the schedule. Regularly update each other on any relevant information and be responsive to messages or calls.
4. Be Flexible and Cooperative
Summer schedules can be more fluid, especially with vacations, family events, or other activities. Being flexible and willing to accommodate each other’s requests can help create a positive co-parenting environment. If unexpected changes arise, communicate promptly and work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.
5. Promote Consistency and Routines
While summer break can be a time for relaxation and fun, it’s important to maintain some consistency and routines for the child’s well-being. Coordinate with the other parent to establish consistent bedtime routines, meal plans, and rules to provide stability even during the break.
6. Encourage Communication with the Other Parent
Encourage your child to communicate regularly with the other parent during summer break. This could include phone calls, video chats, or even sending postcards or emails. Facilitating this connection helps maintain a strong relationship between the child and both parents.
7. Support the Child’s Transition Between Households
Transitioning between households can be challenging for some children. Help ease this process by ensuring they have their personal belongings, favorite toys, and other familiar items when moving between homes. Encourage open discussions about their experiences in each household and address any concerns or anxieties they may have. And if they’ve got some exciting plans with the other parent, make sure they have what they need—sunscreen, floaties, hiking boots, or anything else. This is your chance to care for your kid even when they’re not with you.
8. Maintain a Positive Attitude
Regardless of any past conflicts, focus on fostering a positive co-parenting relationship for the child’s well-being. Summer is all about the easy breezy vibes. So avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the child and strive to maintain a respectful and cooperative attitude. Celebrate the child’s experiences and achievements during summer break, whether they occur with you or the other parent.
Starting Your Two-House Summer
Every co-parenting situation is unique, so it may take time to find a balance that works for your family. Remember, effective co-parenting requires ongoing effort, patience, and understanding. By prioritizing the child’s best interests and working together, you can create a supportive and harmonious co-parenting experience during summer break.
And the best part is that these skills you develop over summer break will work all year round. Summer, fall, winter, spring—these strategies will always have your back. So get out there and enjoy your two-house summer!
For more helpful co-parenting tips, check out our article “10 Ideas for Co-parenting Through the Holidays.”
Books for the Stressed-Out Co-parent
- The World’s Best Dad After Divorce
- The Parent Fix
- Stressed Out! For Parents
- Unlocking Parental Intelligence
- Calming Your Child
Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.