For most families, summer is a time for bike rides, slushies and jumping through the sprinkler. However, for parents trying to navigate a divorce or separation, the summer holidays can be filled with stress and uncertainty. The implementation of a fulsome summer parenting schedule is the best way to alleviate as much stress as possible and make sure that children enjoy the least number of disruptions. But how do you decide what schedule is truly in the children’s best interests?

In an ideal situation, parents could communicate with each other to put a written schedule in place which maximizes the “fun” time that the children can spend with each of them respectively. This schedule should also accommodate the children’s regular extracurricular activities and any specific vacation time that parents may have planned. Each family will have their own unique schedule that works for them. This type of planning does not take place overnight and parents should exchange their preferred holiday time with each other early in the year.  This will reduce the conflict that accompanies last minute planning.

A summer parenting schedule also allows for stability and consistency. Even without the daily school routine, structure is extremely important for a child’s well-being. During this time of change and uncertainly, children need to feel that their time spent with each parent is supported and encouraged by the other.  This will allow for smooth transitions and the children feeling that they can have fun wherever they are staying without also feeling like they are hurting their parent’s feelings.

Along with the children’s best interests, maximizing the spent with each parent is also important. Third party care or daycare should be considered as a second option.  Priority should be placed on having children stay in their own home(s) and playing with their own neighborhood friends. This may mean that the summer parenting schedule isn’t an exactly equal time sharing, which is absolutely fine!  Quality time spent with both parents and not in third party care enables children to continue to build strong and healthy relationships with both.

George R.R. Martin is quoted as saying “Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”  A summer parenting schedule ensures that both summer and childhood are enjoyed to their fullest extent.

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This WARDS LAWYERS PC publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your particular circumstances.

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