Keep kids' stress levels low re co-parenting after divorce

When you divorced, you knew that you and your kids would go through an adjustment period while adapting to your new lifestyle. Perhaps your friends who had already gone through divorce warned you about some of the possible challenges you'd experience during your first post-divorce year. If you have a solid parenting plan and kids that know you'll be there to support them along the way, your family may be able to move forward in life without any major post-divorce complications. 

Hopefully, you and your former spouse were able to negotiate a co-parenting plan that included all of the necessary instructions for out-of-the-ordinary times when your kids' typical schedules would change, such as holidays and summer vacation from school. As for the latter, you can do several things to keep your shared parenting arrangement running smoothly all summer. One is to be fully aware of your parenting rights and know where to seek support if a problem arises. 

Avoid summer vacation co-parenting stress 

It's true that divorce is largely an adult matter, but it's also true that it affects any children involved. By thinking ahead and having potential solutions to possible problems in mind ahead of time, you may be able to steady your co-parenting boat if stormy waters begin to rock it. The following list includes practical tips to keep your kids' and your own summer stress levels low: 

  • Get everyone on the same page: While many people believe spontaneity is the spice of life, leaving someone who needs to know what's going on out of the loop can cause stress. If your normal schedule is going to change in the summer, make sure everyone involved knows the summer time plan. 
  • Adhere to existing court orders: You and your ex are both legally obligated to adhere to the court order that lays out the plan for child custody and visitation. The court order has no expiration date, so if you want to change things during summer months, you must seek the court's approval. 
  • Be willing to compromise: Summer vacation often includes special festivities. If your ex-spouse wants to change a date, time or plan in order to do something special with your kids, try to be as accommodating as possible for the kids' sake.
  • Give your kids their own calendars: Whether you allow them to download a calendar app or provide them with hard copy calendars to hang in their rooms, by posting notes on all days that will be different from their typical year-round custody and visitation arrangement, you help your kids avoid being caught off-guard. 

If you have young children who can't read, you can simplify their calendars by using stickers or symbols to show which days they will be visiting their other parent.

Many California parents struggle during summer months because they aren't able to take as much time off work as they'd like or can't financially afford take their kids on vacation. The most important thing you can give your children in your first summer following divorce is love and support. Implementing practical tips to keep stress levels low sets the tone for you and your children to enjoy your summer months. If a particular legal issue arises, you can tap into available resources to help find a fair and agreeable solution. 

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