With only a few months left in the school year, many children are already dreaming about lazy, carefree days during summer break. Who can blame them? Many of the best memories of childhood are created during summer: making new friends at summer camp, going on road trips to Disney World or national parks, sleeping late in the mornings and staying up late at night. Summer is a kid paradise.
But, what’s a kid to do when they have to deal with visitation schedules, stepparents, or other day to day realities of a divorced parent’s existence? How can you help keep your child’s summer dreams alive while still meeting all your court-ordered obligations?
The answer is to plan ahead. Here are some tips from Family Matters Law Group that will help you as you begin to plan for summer vacation 2019.
You already know what your parenting schedule is going to look like. So, plan around it. The time for that big house cleaning project or volunteer activity is when your children are with the other parent. When they are with you, the center of attention needs to be on the children!
Remember that if you are already aware of a scheduling conflict or the need to make adjustments to a summer visitation schedule, it is not enough for both parents to agree. You need to talk to your family attorney and make sure that you don’t need to run changes through the court first. Violating a court order is not the way to start a fun summer vacation!
Divorced or not, every parent knows it’s impossible to be with your children every minute of the summer. Smart parents plan ahead. If you know you have to work while your children are visiting, it’s time to research local camp options or summer enrichment activities that can occupy some time while you’re away.
There are many local options for enrichment that play on children’s interests -- Harry Potter camps, robotics camps, athletic day camps. Children do better when school returns in the fall if they have engaged in enrichment activities during the summer, versus just laying around and watching TV nonstop.
Summer doesn’t have to be all go,go,go. You remember what it was like to be a kid. So, use that as a guide for how to create a good summer. There should be some downtime, days for your child to sleep late, or just hang out. The key here is moderation -- don’t let the entire summer be like that.
Children of divorce often worry about being able to spend time with their friends during summer vacation. A very nice way to take care of your children’s needs (and win some big cool points as well) is to include your children’s friends in your summer planning.
Also, create some time for yourself as well. Summer can be fun for adults, too. Take note of the times on the visitation schedule when you have some time for yourself. Plan a trip, curl up with that book you’ve been meaning to read, or head to the spa. By recharging your batteries, you’ll be much better equipped to handle the energy level of your children during their summer break.
Remember to take a deep breath and relax. You don’t have to spend a lot or have everything perfect to create a fantastic summer break. We all have nice memories of eating ice cream cones, having backyard barbecues, or simply riding bicycles with our best friends. Summer memories are often made up of the small things. Don’t sweat it -- plan ahead, leave room for downtime, take care of yourself, and make it about the children. You’ve got this!
Family Matters Law Group hopes you have a great summer vacation. If you have questions about summer schedules, or need help with a divorce or custody case, and you are in the metro Atlanta area (especially Henry, Clayton, or Fayette counties), contact us today. We’re the Atlanta divorce attorney for men.