By Ivana Covic

Three tips for getting the most out of summer vacation during a stressful time.

Our experience as family lawyers reminds us that one of the most stressful times for families who are separated or divorced with children is the summer holidays. Warm weather and free time are upon us, so here are a few tips for a less stressful summer vacation for you and your children.

Make Plans Ahead of Time

Do you want to sign your children up for summer camps? Soccer? Go on that family camping trip? Take time to write down some things that you would like to accomplish during your time off and ask your spouse to do the same. Try brainstorming some ideas of things that you would like to do with your children. Be mindful that there may be some differences in your ideas and try to come up with things you can do together, or separately if need be.

Put Children First

Your children have likely been in school all year and are looking forward to spending some time with both of you. Try to minimize the conflict they are exposed to and avoid putting them in the middle. Always ask yourself if you are conducting yourself in a manner that is in the best interests of your children. This may require you to check your emotions and act in a way that’s against what you might feel in the moment.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Although it’s easier said than done, try not to dwell on things that don’t go your way. Your children may not even be fully aware of what is going on around them and it likely is not going to be a big deal for them if they end up, for example, going to soccer camp instead of baseball camp. Even though you may not be seeing eye-to-eye with your spouse, you both want your children to have a wonderful summer. Just remember, if something doesn’t go as planned, there’s always next summer!

Making plans ahead of time and not sweating the small stuff will help provide a positive environment for both parents and kids to enjoy the holidays, despite what may be going on. Having open lines of communication may seem like a difficult and daunting task, but it will help you and your spouse focus on your children—rather than the conflict—and can help everyone have a more enjoyable much-needed break.