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4 tips for effective summer co-parenting

Now that summer is finally here, your kids are probably gearing up for three months of fun and adventure. As a parent, though, you might not be quite as excited.

This can be especially true for divorced parents. Co-parenting during summer vacation can be particularly challenging. Here are some tips for overcoming common obstacles.

Plan early, talk often

If there are certain weeks where you know you'll want to take the kids out of town, or where the children have commitments like camp or sports tournaments, let the other parent know as soon as possible.

Similarly, make an effort to be accommodating when the other parent wants to plan activities with the kids.

Having a plan in place at the start of summer can avoid confusion and conflict later in the season. As the summer progresses, stay in touch to ensure your children are getting the support they need.

Use your parenting plan

Most parenting plans will set guidelines for how to handle summer break and special holidays like Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. They likely also cover who will be responsible for special expenses like extracurricular activities, sports and summer camps.

To the extent that it is reasonable to do so, rely on the guidelines set by your parenting plan. If your parenting plan feels obsolete (this often happens as children get older), consider modifying it to fit your family's needs.

Keep each other informed

If the kids will be spending time with both parents, make an effort to keep the other in the loop. This can be particularly important if one parent only gets to spend extended time with the children a few times a year and may not understand their progress in certain areas.

For example, if the other parent is taking the kids on a beach vacation, you might want to talk about their progress in swimming lessons, or how they react after a long day in the sun. If a child is struggling with reading, you might want to let the other parent know to encourage the child to pick out new books.

Be flexible to support your kids

Ultimately, summer break is a child's time to learn new things, have new experiences and grow as a person. If there's something they really want to do, work with the other parent to do what you can to make it happen. Try not to let your adult conflicts get in the way of your children having a great summer. 

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