As kids get out of school and people prepare vacation plans, summer hosts a suite of unique challenges for co-parents. This summer might be even more difficult to manage in the wake of COVID-19. Understanding how to approach the summer as a co-parent can enable you to build stronger co-parenting and parent-child relationships.
Why Is Co-Parenting Harder Over the Summer?
The biggest hurdle co-parents face during the summer is fairly obvious: Kids are out of school.
As a result, parents either need to find time in a busy schedule to take care of their kids for an additional eight hours a day or find activities the kids can do (like going to a summer camp or putting them in childcare). But even options that reduce the amount of time parents need to spend with their children can be problematic.
For example, what if one parent disagrees with using a certain childcare facility for the children? What if one parent wants to provide tutoring for the children, but the other can't afford it? Will the parent who wants tutoring pay for it even when they don't have custody of the kids?
Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected how many co-parents will approach this summer. Most students haven't been in school for months, and for many, online schooling may have resulted in academic stagnation. Parents who lost jobs due to the pandemic's economic impact will need to balance job hunting with childcare and budget unemployment benefits. The list goes on.
This summer is shaping up to be uniquely challenging for co-parents across the country, which is why being proactive and taking the right steps to prepare is so essential.
Summer Co-Parenting Tips
Here are some tips you can use to make co-parenting easier this summer:
- Ask your kids what they want to do. A surprising amount of parents decide their kids totally want to take that summer art camp without actually checking in with them. If a summer camp is on your agenda, come up with a list of possible camps and present it to your children. Ask them which ones they'd like to do the most. It can take a lot of stress out of the planning aspect and reduce friction in the home.
- Schedule events like vacations in advance. Summer is a popular vacation time for many parents. Make sure your plans don't interfere with your custody arrangement.
- Consider drafting a separate parenting plan for the summer. Creating a full-blown, signed parenting plan for the summer can help you consider every detail and hold each other accountable.
- Consider how COVID-19 affected your child's school year. For many children, important events like graduation or prom got completely derailed by the coronavirus. Consider doing something special for your children to help cheer them up.
- Take CDC guidelines for COVID-19 into account. Although many states are decreasing COVID-related restrictions, the US isn't really seeing any de-escalation in COVID cases. In fact, some states (like Texas) are considering reinstating stay-at-home orders due to an increase in coronavirus cases. Take measures like sanitizing your house regularly and wearing masks while you're out and about to keep your kids safe.
Taking the above precautions can help make your summer more enjoyable for the whole family.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff, I can help you enhance your current child custody arrangement.
To learn more or schedule a consultation with my office, contact me online or via phone at (805) 633-4999.