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Tips for divorced parents when planning for a child's summer

Thankfully, summer finally appears to be just around the corner which means it will soon be time to break out the shorts, soak up some sun and solidify summer plans. While the majority of Minnesotans are eagerly awaiting the official start to summer, parents with school-age children often face the dilemma of how to entertain kids during the summer months. For divorced parents, planning for a child's summer can be especially challenging and often requires a lot of communication and compromise.

With younger children, divorced parents are often able to dictate the majority of summer plans. Younger children aren't as likely to object to the plans mom or dad make. However, as a child gets older, he or she may have strong opinions about being away from friends or may not want to go camping or spend a week with their mom or dad and a new significant other.

To make summer planning easier on everyone, divorced parents need to make sure they're on the same page. Each parent should take the time to figure out his or her own summer plans and coordinate with the other parent about important activities and events that may involve a child. After parents have hashed out a child's summer schedule, it's important to communicate with a child about these summer plans.

In cases where parents want a child to attend summer camp or spend time with relatives, it's important to know that he or she may act out or become homesick. While any child in this position may miss mom or dad, a child whose parents were recently divorced may be especially prone to experiencing strong feelings and emotions.

As with most matters related to parenting, communication and cooperation is key. While there may be some conflict while attempting to sort out summer plans, divorced parents would be wise to remember that ultimately the most important thing is to make sure a child has a fun and safe summer.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Start Summer Planning Now," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., April 3, 2014

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