Planning your summer’s activities, in theory, sounds like fun – especially after a long winter. However, most parents will tell you it is a dreaded task having to account for the many weeks their children are out of school. As you co-parent both during and after your divorce, having a solid plan for summer scheduling will help minimize the stress and tension of planning and paying for your children’s summer activities.
- Schedule a meeting (or two or three): Mark a date in February or March to start talking about summer plans. There can be many complicating factors to planning, such as family trips, parenting time— so start early to rough out your calendars. You will likely find that several meeting are required. Account for this and schedule several on your calendar.
- Create a budget: Summer camps, sports and child care are unquestionably expensive and can be a strain on any couple’s budget. By creating a budget for these costs and possibly even a “ceiling” cost for specific activities, you can alleviate unnecessary disagreements as you plan and keep the meetings productive.
- Create a plan: Once you have a budget and meeting date, you should have a plan as to how decisions will be made. Maybe you decide all summer plans jointly; maybe for summer camps or child care, the parent with parenting time makes the decisions for his or her time, or maybe you use a hybrid approach. How you tackle this project can work many ways and there’s no one way that is best.
- Set up an account: As part of your plan and budget, setting up a separate account (credit card or banking) to cover summer or extra-curricular activities may be helpful. If you choose a banking account, you may also choose to contribute on a monthly basis throughout the year to cover the upfront costs of summer expenses. When you set your budget, also set up monthly contributions to meet that budget.
After you have finalized your summer planning, don’t forget to schedule a follow up meeting to reconcile the expenses you both incur. This will help alleviate any misunderstandings related to cost and expenses, and keep future disagreements at bay. Remember, a planned summer is a smooth summer, and a smooth summer is a happy one!Tagged with: children • children in divorce • Co-Parenting • finances • Money and Finances • summer camps