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Keep co-parenting stress levels low when summer time hits

If this coming summer will be your first since your divorce, you may be a bit nervous as to how your parenting plan will work once your kids are on summer vacation from their Colorado school. Even if you happen to be a home-schooling family who keeps classes going year-round, your schedule may undergo a few changes here and there during summer.  

As long as both parents are on the same page regarding daily routines and special occasions that may occur, things should be okay. If, however, your relationship with your former spouse is less than amiable and he or she seems driven to thwart your parenting efforts at every turn, you may face more challenges than the average divorced parent during summer. In any situation, it helps to know your rights and how to quickly access support if a problem arises.  

Help kids have a low-stress summer 

Your marital problems and your divorce are definitely adult matters that are best kept private from your children when possible. However, divorce always impacts children; therefore, the more you can do to show your kids your support and help them adapt to their new lifestyle, the better. The following list includes useful tips to help summer months run smoothly: 

  • Avoid scheduling surprises: It's one thing to surprise your kids with a pizza party on a Friday night and quite another to let them think they are going away for the weekend with their other parent when you know plans have changed. You can help your kids avoid stress if you keep them informed about their visitation schedule.  
  • Keep lines of communication open: As co-parents, you will obviously have to interact on some level, at least until your kids reach the age of maturity and most likely beyond. Willingness to communicate helps avoid major problems. 
  • Post the visitation plan for all to see: If you and your spouse both keep a calendar hanging in conspicuous locations at home or provide each of your children with a calendar, it leaves little room for dispute regarding visit days. Younger children can use stickers or symbols if they can't read.  
  • Avoid comparing yourself to the other parent: Avoid the pitfalls of feeling guilty because you have to spend most of your summer working or can't afford to take your kids to the beach.  
  • Be happy for your kids: Especially if your ex can do these things, it's easy to give in to feelings of jealousy or to feel inferior; however, comparing yourself to your co-parent will not only cause you stress but may ruin any chance you have of enjoying the summer with your kids.   

Hopefully, everyone involved in your situation will be willing to cooperate as needed to keep stress to a minimum this summer. Even the best intentions may not be enough, however, if someone or something is impeding your parent/child relationship or causing legal problems regarding your existing court order.  

By knowing ahead of time how to rectify such situations, you can overcome any obstacles that arise and stay focused on building new and lasting memories with your kids. 

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