If you share parenting time with your child’s other parent, summer can mean making some adjustments. If this is your first summer navigating these changes, there are a few tips you can consider to make this transition easier for you and your child.
Review schedule changes now
Schedules change in the summer. Even if things like your work schedule stay the same, your parenting schedules might shift, and your child will be on summer break rather than in school. Review these changes sooner rather than later to ensure you are ready and on the same page as the other parent.
Don’t forget to think about logistics like pickups and drop-offs, care facility closures and extracurricular activities. These details may not seem like a big deal now, but overlooking them can lead to confusion and crossed wires in the future. In some cases, failing to plan now can mean your child misses out on things they want to do this summer.
Share your travel and holiday plans
Communication is vital when parents share time and responsibilities over the summer. Oversights can lead to serious issues like kidnapping allegations and court order violations.
Instead, you and your child’s other parent should be clear about travel and holiday plans, particularly if they will take your child out of Ontario or Canada or change your existing parenting schedule. You can also discuss whether you both have the necessary documents and permissions in place. If you don’t, you can use this time to secure what you need. You might also include specific information on where your child will be staying and how both parents can contact each other, if necessary.
Set ground rules for attending events
Summer can mean a host of new activities for a child, from camp and concerts to games and performances. Will both parents attend these events? Should you divide your attendance based on your parenting schedule or the specific activity? If you are both attending, can you commit to being cordial and respectful to avoid creating stress or embarrassment for your child?
Answer these questions now so you and your child can be confident about what to expect when showing your support.
Summer is supposed to be a fun and relaxing time – especially for kids. These tips can help parents make this a reality.
Let me add a caveat to the above – If you have a Parenting Plan or Court Order that already addresses the summer schedule, just know that the earlier legal document is what should govern. If you want a change to what was already ordered or agreed to, check out the provisions in your document that deal with such changes. And when in doubt, consider consulting with a family law lawyer.