Summer vacation is rapidly approaching and you want to spend as much time as you can with your children during their break from school. Hopefully, you and your children’s other parent have a solid custody and parenting plan in place that talks about summer vacation time with each of you. But what if you want extra time with your kids? Summer means longer days and frequent outdoor activities like BBQs and sporting events. If you would like to possibly increase your time with your kids for these kinds of special occasions, here are some steps that can help you accomplish this.
1. Talk to your child’s other parent: Sometimes, what appears to be the simplest solution actually is. If you and your ex are able to discuss your child custody and parenting time plan openly and without hostility, ask your ex for more parenting time during the summer. You may be surprised that your ex has a need for you to increase your parenting time, such as an increase in summer work hours or a planned long weekend with friends. When asking, always be respectful and civil with your ex, but let them know that the increase in time with you over their summer holiday is absolutely in their best interests.
2. Offer to increase your pickup/drop off responsibilities: If you don’t typically pick your child up from their baseball games on Wednesdays, then offer to do so. Picking up your child from home, driving them to their game, staying for the game and then driving them home again will afford you a bit more one-on-one time. Or, maybe you have shorter hours in the summer and you are able to pick your child up from their day camp rather than having them take the bus. Grab that extra time whenever you can and when it works for the family.
3. Offer to take them to special summer events: Maybe it’s a tradition for your family to watch fireworks on the 4th of July in your hometown. Or, perhaps there is a family reunion coming up in August that you’d love the kids to attend with you. Maybe you invested in season tickets for the Yankees. Summer can be filled with special events and activities that your kids will love, learn from and appreciate. Creating summer memories with your children can be priceless.
4. Suggest mini-vacations: You may already have one or two weeks with the children over the summer for an extended vacation. But, think about offering to take them, and perhaps some of their friends, to Hershey Park for a long weekend or down the shore to their grandparent’s beach house for a few days. Make sure that you are not intruding on their other parent’s time or vacations, however.
5. Use Facetime or Skype: When all else fails, look to technology this summer. Just a few minutes before your children go to bed on Facetime or on Skype can mean the all the difference to them if they are missing you and vice versa! Again, be respectful of your ex’s time as well as your kid’s mealtimes and bedtimes. While technology is no substitute for physically being with your kids, it is a good alternative for when logistics just won’t work for in-person time.
Get it in writing: If you are able to work out a change to your parenting plan for the summer, try to get the changes in writing if you can. For example, you write up the changed plan and then both of you sign it, preferably after a lawyer has looked it over. If this isn’t possible, at least retain any communications you have with your ex regarding the changes such as emails or text messages that discuss changes in times or agreed to plans (i.e., a text from your ex that says, “Sure – you can take Abby and Jake to beach on Saturday.”)
And above all, keep your kids as your focus. They appreciate the extra time with you but should not feel as though you and their other parent are battling. Do your best to keep the peace and maintain a healthy environment for them this summer and beyond. They’ll thank you for it!
Need help coming up with workable solutions for parenting time over summer vacation? We can help. Please call (888-888-0919) or contact us to schedule your initial attorney consultation.