Last month, my partner Debra discussed how to best share the summer vacation schedule among divorced or separated parents, but there are also a lot of things to consider as well.

Just because a family is going through a divorce or separation doesn’t mean that a child or children’s lives need to be in total upheaval.  The roof over their heads may be changing, but their schedules don’t necessarily need to be rewritten.

As parents, you need to take into account the children’s needs and wants and minimize change as much as possible, especially when it comes to their schedules. Of course, this will differ from family to family and situation to situation, but here is a good checklist of things to consider for the summer.

  • The Ages of the Children – Younger children will have less flexibility and less say in decisions, but as they get older situations with friends and school will afford them more freedom and flexibility.
  • Past Arrangements – If your child went to camp in the summer or spent time with a nanny or a grandparent/relative that doesn’t need to change. Consider keeping past arrangements in place.
  • Working Parents – If both parents work then child care will still come into play. Summer camp, whether it be sleepaway or day camp, can easily be substituted for traditional day care.
  • Don’t Change the Schedule – If you have a scheduled routine for the school year, leave it in place. Camps will accommodate busing to drop children off at their respective parents’ houses, for example, if Mom has the kids Mon-Thurs and Dad has them on Friday.
  • Be Accommodating – Let’s use Labor Day as an example. It could be a really nice three-day weekend – allow whichever parent has the custody for that Monday to have the whole weekend if they are available.
  • Keep Options and Communication Open – Don’t forget you are the adults. It’s important to keep each other informed about the whereabouts of the children when they are with each respective parent.  Make sure if schedules change, or you go on vacation, to update each other with plans. Remember, things happen.  We can’t control life, so be flexible and keep your options open for changes in schedules, family emergencies, school events, and sickness.

Don’t lose sight of the most important thing – to make the situation as seamless for the children as possible.