The days are getting warmer and longer. The kids (and teachers) are getting restless in the classroom. You look at the calendar and realize that your days are about to get a whole lot longer as the children’s summer vacation is approaching. Any parent knows that as much as those summer vacations can be fun, they can also be stressful trying to keep the kids entertained every single day. If you are a newly divorced parent this time of year can be even more stressful and chaotic.
Now is a good time to start planning for the children being home from school for the summer months. The following are a few ideas to help keep you (and the kids) stress-free and occupied throughout the summer:
- Communicate with your ex. Whether each of you work or only one does, you need to come up with a schedule that will not only work for the both of you but for your children as well. Get out your planners and start planning the summer based on everyone’s schedule.
- Ensure the both of you are on the same page as to what the children will be enrolled in and when. Be sure that activities do not substantially interfere with either parent’s parenting time. Arrange for drop-offs and pick-ups between the both of you and arrange for carpooling with other families if necessary.
- Planning on traveling with the kids in the summer? Again, communicate with your ex to make sure there are no conflicts with his or her plans and make it clear where you are going to be. Always exchange a complete itinerary with the other parent, which should include all travel plans and contact numbers.
- If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of families with children, take turns hosting at your houses or join in on the fun and get the parents together as well. Not every activity has to be costly to the parents.
- Let your kids find ways to entertain themselves. Yes, its great to have something planned to keep them busy but they also shouldn’t expect you to keep them entertained all day every day. Allow for a movie day, board game day, encourage them to get ahead on their summer reading, etc.
- Allow the children to get back to basics! Perhaps it would be a good idea to enforce a no cell phone or tablet rule. Encourage the kids to be kids by chasing fireflies, toasting marshmallows, star gazing, playing flashlight tag with the neighborhood kids, etc.
- Remember to take time for yourself too! Get together with friends, take fitness classes, get outdoors, catch up on organizing if the kids are away and enjoy much needed time for yourself.
The summer can be such a fun time of year for everyone. It is such a short season, especially here in New England, so make the most of it and create life-long memories with your kids regardless of what your life situation may be.