Planning For Summer Vacations After Divorce

Summer Vacation

Summer brings to mind many images, including children frolicking through the sprinklers, trips to summer camp, family vacations, ballgames, and camping excursions. Unfortunately, divorced parents often miss out on the fun due to the stress of trying to schedule summer activities for their children.

Summer vacation planning is made more complicated for divorced parents due to the need to coordinate pickup and drop-off times at camp, pool or summer school. If parents have a custody agreement that spells out how this is to be accomplished it makes things easier, but doesn't guarantee smooth sailing. It is entirely possible that a child will want to participate in an activity that just does not work with one parent's schedule, requiring parents to either modify the agreement or come to an informal arrangement.

Divorced parents without detailed child custody agreements may find that providing their children with appropriate activities to be a challenge. If the divorce was hotly contested, and if child custody and visitation were major issues, developing and executing an activity plan for children may raise issues that you thought were settled when the divorce became final.

Strong differences of opinion about what is suitable for a child, combined with significant financial limitations not present before the divorce, can make summer vacation planning a nightmare.

Summer Doesn't Have To Be A Nightmare

Here are some tips to minimize the stress of your children's summer vacations:

  • Reach an agreement with the other parent on a plan as soon as possible: There should be no last-minute surprises. Agree on when the children will vacation with each parent and on which parent is responsible for pickup and drop-off for day camp or swimming lessons.
  • Be realistic about how much money you have to spend and how much each activity costs.
  • Put yourself in the other parent's shoes: Try to present a united front so that your children do not try to manipulate you.
  • Divide the plan into small pieces so that you agree on more than you disagree on: This will help limit stress and contention.
  • Don't involve your children in the details of which parent pays for which camp or program: They don't need to know this level of detail. However, it is a good idea to involve them in planning, especially if they are visiting you away from their familiar activities and friends.
  • Try not to refight old battles that are irrelevant to the issue of summer activities: Focus on the future, not on the past.
  • Be realistic and plan for some down time: Not every minute has to be filled with activities. Let the kids be kids, at least for some of the time.

Kid Dog Trunk

Summer Should Be Fun. Enjoy It.

Some divorced parents dread summer vacations, especially if they are non-custodial parents who live far from their children and do not see them frequently. However, with planning and a clear focus on the children, summertime can be great for kids and parents.