Summer vacation is just around the corner, bringing excitement as well as anxiety for some families. Families of divorce may face even more pressure each year when planning for summer vacation.

Most of us think about the summer as a time to relax and spend time with our families, but that can be difficult after a marriage ends, especially for children who aren’t sure how to react when asked to split their time between two households.

Make summer plans that work for everyone

Divorce can be a painful emotional experience for everyone, filled with resentment and sadness. However, parents must make an effort to put those feelings behind them and focus on what’s best for their kids. Some helpful tips for making a memorable summer include:

  • Don’t let your kids decide: Allowing children to choose who they want to spend the summer with puts them in an awkward situation. Refer to your co-parenting plan or visitation schedule already in place. If they are spending the day with you, make sure they get to speak with the other parent.
  • Be on the same page with your ex: If you and your former spouse don’t have a visitation schedule in place for summer vacation, work together to come up with a plan to spend time with the kids together or separately. Good communication will head off any misunderstandings.
  • Compromise: If you and your ex both have plans for your kids during the summer, avoid allowing bad feelings about them to fuel conflict and even more tension. Calmly explain your priorities, and  remain open-minded over any adjustments to the schedule.

Build your support system

As much as it might hurt, there will be times that your kids will not be around during the summer. Instead of focusing on grief or loneliness, use the time to rekindle or strengthen your ties with the people who love you, such as close friends or relatives. Being around others who support you is an excellent way to deal with those feelings of loss. You can also find solace by knowing that you are doing your part to help your children cope with a difficult transition.