It may be hard to imagine, but parenting in summer begins near the end of winter. For divorced or separated parents, the end of winter is the best time to begin making summer plans. If you start in February or March, rather than waiting until the last minute (when you know the level of stress will be off the charts), you are more likely to:
find that spots are available for your children in the best programs,
be able to take advantage of early enrollment discounts, and
give yourself a few moments to relax and look forward to a well planned summer.
Summer plans often requires coordination of lots of different schedules—your work and vacation schedules, the other parent’s work and vacation schedules, car-pool schedules, activity schedules, camp schedules, and weekend schedules. Combine this with the need to pay deposits to hold spots in programs, to get medical forms filled out, and to see whether or not you can afford a family vacation. It’s not surprising that many parents feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the thought of making arrangements for the summer
In her Huffington Post article, “Tips for Divorced Parents To Have A Stress-Free Summer Vacation,” Michelle Rozen shares ideas that can help ease your way to summer. Ms. Rozen emphasizes the need to make plans in advance and to remember that divorce means that people simply have less money. She reminds parents, “If you come up with a plan that works great for you, but does not work for the other parent, it would be a waste of your time and energy to be upset and resentful. Instead, try to consider their perspective.”
Think about the questions you need to be asked. Communicate with the other parent (in person, by phone, skype, or email); see which options work for both of you. Compare and coordinate your schedules. Decide on a budget. Are there scholarships available for programs that are too expensive? Will there be days or weeks that you will need child care? Answers to these questions will make it easier for you to fine tune your ideas and make realistic summer plans.