Summertime is a time of relaxation and a break to get outside and enjoy summer activities. Adults often view summertime as an opportunity to enjoy the children without being a drill sergeant ordering them to accomplish all daily requirements in order to meet school demands. Summertime can be a time for watching television, playing outside until dark and even walking on nature trails instead of meeting school demands. It is good for the children to see parents as friends instead of always meeting demands and filled with stress.
Summertime for children of divorce may also reflect the diversion from meeting school demands, but enjoying the pleasures of summer but knowing there are changes for both parents and children when divorce occurs and life must be lived somewhat differently.
An acronym of summertime for children and parents when divorce is or has occurred may be equated with the following:
S-upportive relationship with the other parent. Children of divorce desire to continue their relationship with both parents. When visiting each parents home during the summer, allowing time for children to have phone visitation with the other parent is not only reassuring but sends the message that it is acceptable to love both parents.
U-nessary arguing of parents is often a problem for many children of divorce and one that is not desired. Parents may need to discuss summertime activities and the many changes during this time period that will reflect the needs of the children. Discussions involving the children often bring arguing between divorced parents. Hopefully your parenting plan in divorce decree has been properly formed and most items that would need to be discussed have been addressed thus limiting the need for arguing.
M-oving between homes during transition of custodial arrangements. Changing homes throughout the summer can be stressful. Often times, it is the parent’s attitude through the transition and the difference in parenting styles that may cause stress. Maintaining an attitude that this extended visitation time should be focused on the children and lessen the stress of moving homes multiple times throughout a summer is a must.
M-emories made during summer usually require little imagination. Parents can share memory making ideas with other divorced families, use the internet to search for creative ways of sharing time with kids and using your own creativity to foster memories. What many parents of divorce do not realize is that memories can be made with or without great financial means. A simple picnic at the park while feeding ducks, fishing at the local lake and sharing of the day’s activities with favorite snacks, may be just the ticket to foster long lasting summertime memories for all family members.
E-Emotionally challenging for children at times. Although children of divorce love both parents, moving back and forth between homes or being away from the custodial parent for a length of time may be emotionally challenging for children of all ages. This is not a love more love issue rather an adjustment issue to the change in visitation. Parents must not take this negatively personally rather accept that a change even for adults often takes an adjustment. Accept this fact and offer comfort rather than being offended.
R- ecreational activities enjoyed before the divorce may also be continued after divorce. Make sure to reflect over past activities as well as new activities that children will desire to participate in for a fun summer. Often times due to divorce, financial means are lessened and time constraints are many. Don’t forget about summer camp, church activities, and school related activities such as cheerleader and football camp as well as summer school if needed.
T-ransfer of clothing and necessary items can be overwhelming. Children of divorce may feel as though they are moving when transitioning between homes. Reducing the items needed when transitioning may be helpful. Staples such as toothbrush and paste, pajamas, bath essentials especially for teenagers are a common courtesy. Items needed for everyday use should be provided at both parents home during every visitation not only during summer will help minimize the stress during transitioning homes.
I-nterested in ME! Children enjoy having time with parents without the stressors and demands of school, therefore more emphasis can be placed on ME, the child. Make sure to spend time alone with your children talking, laughing and learning about each other without having new “friends” always involved in your alone time. Children of all ages want your undivided attention to focus on them.
M-anaging custodial time for the children during this extended visitation is necessary. Balancing work and the responsibility of the children when there is no school requires much thought. After divorcing, will there be a need for a baby sitter, finding extra money for activities to fill the days of summer as well as how to manage the children’s extra time but the parent’s continuous responsibilities of life is a must.
E-xpectations for the summer. Evaluate what your expectations for summertime fun by carefully planned activities, making sure that it is a fun time for everyone. Take time to plan each custodial week with your children fulfilling the expectations of summertime fun for all family members.
Divorce creates a division of homes and children are placed in the middle to live life very differently. As parents, we often view children transitioning for visitation as an event without taking into consideration the feelings and experiences that our children must endure since divorce has created life change. Plan today for a great summer time with your children!
Divorce Tool Box understands the needs of divorcing families as transitions occur. The creation of your parenting plan will often aid in taking into account for many changes that occur during your children’s transition. Divorce Tool Box can assist with the creation of your parenting plan that will withstand the test of time. Visit our website today at www.divorcetoolbox.com.