We know it is only February, but school will be out in no time. The schedule changes that come along with summer can be stressful for all parties involved, especially your children. There are several things that you can begin taking care of now to make these changes less stressful on yourself, the other parent, and most importantly, your children.
First, if you are a non-custodial parent who is going to be enjoying more time with your children, it is time to make arrangements to be off work for as much of your custodial time as possible. It can sometimes be very difficult to get days off in the summer, and requesting leave now may make it less difficult. While we know that it may be impossible to get that much time off, you can plan for day camps or other activities for the children when you must be at work. Start looking into those types of programs now, as they may have sign-up deadlines.
Second, if you are a non-custodial parent who has plans to take the children on a trip during your summer custodial time, make sure that you comply with any order that requires you to notify the other parent or provide them with an itinerary. In fact, now is a good time to pull out that final order or settlement agreement to make sure that you are abiding by it. It is much better to do it now than to wait and run into an issue the day before you are supposed to leave. While planning for a vacation with your kids make sure to get a list of their medications, allergies, pediatricians, and a list of emergency contacts, just in case you cannot reach the other parent in an emergency.
Third, have a conversation with the other parent about any current issues your children may be having. It is not uncommon for children, especially younger children, to have separation anxiety when their schedules change. The best person to help you with this transition is the other parent. They can encourage the change and help the children get used to the idea of being away from them longer than normal. You can facilitate the change by speaking to the children now about the plans you have made for your time with them. Get them involved in the planning stage. Get them excited about spending that time with you!
We hope these tips make the transition into summertime custodial schedules less stressful for all involved. Feel free to contact our office at (334) 373-2981 if you have any concerns or questions about your summer custodial time.