Summertime is here. Its a fun but busy time of the year for families. Along with graduations and vacations, the most significant change is the children are out of school for the summer.

The family’s normal routine will be disrupted. A change in the children’s schedule will likely cause changes to your normal custody schedule.  While every family needs to plan for the summer season, it’s especially important for parents whom have a custody and visitation agreement to plan in advance for summer visitation that minimizes the disruption to the children.

Graduations are commemorative occasions that don’t occur frequently in a child’s life.  There should be clear communication as to how the child’s graduation will be handled far enough in advance as to not interfere with this joyous event. Each parent may have a different idea on how to celebrate, however it is always best that the child’s parents discuss issues such as a graduation gifts, parties or even how many tickets will be available to attend the ceremony etc. This is not the time to discuss other disputes.

Often parents take their children on vacation during the summer. With a shared parenting plan that means two separate vacations for the children. It is possible that conflict will arise between you and the children’s other parent. Your custody schedule, if determined by a court, most likely has language on whom can take the children when, but it is best to be flexible. You might already have plans in mind for when you’d like to take your kids on a trip, while your co-parent might also have similar plans in mind.

Work schedules often limit vacation time. If the other parent shares this issue it is best to communicate as soon as possible. One parent may have more flexibility or be completely off for the summer while the other has the same schedule year round.  The best way to ease the transition is to open a dialogue on how the both of you would like to address the summer visitation schedule while still having a shared parenting plan. Thus if an issue arises and court intervention is needed, that can be accomplished. Ideally both parents can co-parent effectively, avoiding the court and making the children’s summer vacation filled with fun.

There are often childcare issues as well as summer activities that you will want the children to participate in. Childcare while your kids are out of school is a decision that both parents need to consider. Making arrangements for your kids to attend a childcare program so that your kids are supervised while also having something fun to do each day can be easy so long as it is planned in advance.

Cities have summertime programs that provide a learning element as well as plenty of fun for the children. These programs are often inexpensive and provide fun activates for the kids to do. Chances are some of your kids’ friends will be at these programs, too. Another option to keep the children busy but still enjoying their time is to put them in summer camps. There are day camps as well as summer camps where the children spend anywhere from a week to a month away. These camps need to be booked in advance thus good co-parenting would be required to effectuate a successful experience for the child. Talk to the parents of your children’s friends to see what their plans are for the summer.   Other parents are also great resources for carpooling and sharing childcare.

Summer vacation is a special time for any child.  Work as hard as you can towards giving your kids the best summer vacation to date! With proper communication and preparation ahead of time, the stress of planning the summer vacation will be alleviated and will optimize the children vacation time with each parent.