July 2, 2014

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Co-Parenting Tips For Your Summer

image001Your kids love the hot summer months and being out of school, but parenting during the summer can be a ton of work.  Every parent needs to be a strategic planner co-ordinating summer school, day camps, sleep away camps and the family vacations.  The challenge of planning a summer for divorced parents or blended families is even tougher, but it can be done successfully.

I am a family lawyer in Vancouver, British Columbia and over the years I helped many clients develop parenting schedules to navigate even the sticky summer months.  First I suggest my clients bring down the tension levels and have a healthy perspective because this is only one summer in a lifetime.  Next I recommend that my clients keep the lines of communication open and fully operational.  Here are five tips for making your co-parenting schedule for summer a breeze:

1.  Make your children’s health and happiness the priority.  Structure the time so that the children have time with each parent to play, relax and bond.  Summer is the time for each family member to recharge their battery, and work on reducing stress levels by spending more time outdoors and doing fun stuff.

2.  Know your parenting plan really well.  With parenting plans, think of them as road maps, the children and parents need to follow the plan to know what to expect, and keep the peace.  Have both parents and children read the parenting plan.  Make sure each parent understands what is expected of them to make the schedule work.  The restful days of summer are a good time to figure out how to make the children transitioning between two households run even smoother.

3.  Rise above the issues you have with your ex-spouse.  The best method for accomplishing this goal is to keep your focus on what is best for the children.  Your parenting plan should provide each parent with a worry-free time when the children are in the care and control of the other parent.  When you children are with you, focus on being with your children in body and spirit and avoid obsessing about your ex-spouse.

4.  Necessary communication and no more is the key to success.  Take responsibility for communicating with your ex-spouse and do not use the children as messengers.  Stress negatively impacts on your children’s development.  Your communication with your ex-spouse should be short and factual.  If you aren’t on speaking terms, then email and/or texting will do just fine.

5.  Summer is great time for your children to spend time with both parents’ extended families.  Your extended family will love taking your children to the pool or beach and going out for ice cream.  Similarly, your ex-spouse’s extended family all like to know that your children like to go to the zoo or science world when time permits.  Developing stronger supervision networks for your children will benefit your children, the extended family and you.

If you have any questions about co-parenting, please call me or email me and book a consultation, Gilsig Family Law in Vancouver, BC (604) 669-6402 or info@gilsig.ca