Even if you're divorced, you can make summer great for your kids

Ah, those carefree summer days of childhood.

Time with friends. Visits to some of the wonderful spots for children in Illinois. Toasting s'mores around the fire. Just because you're divorced doesn't mean the kids have to experience anything less than an awesome summer.

But it takes a commitment and some compromise from both parents to make for happy days for the kids. The summer schedule is different from the school-year schedule, and summertime events that alter plans are going to come up.

The adjustment often can be hard for divorced families, especially if this is the first summer you've lived apart. But it doesn't have to be. One author of a book about divorced families has a number of helpful tips. Here are a few of them:

  1. Let the kids enjoy time with both parents: If you're the dad and always have the kids on Tuesday nights but they want to go to your town's summer concert series with their mother, don't make a fuss. In return, she'll probably more flexible with the schedule if you want to spend some Saturdays teaching them how to play golf. It's important for both parents to spend time with the kids, so this isn't the time for a power struggle.
  2. Give the kids some say in the summer planning: The younger kids might want to go to a summer camp they've gone to in the past. The teenagers will want to balance family time with other interests, such as friends and jobs. They should have input in some activities.
  3. Be a bit more flexible with what you consider to be your time with the kids: If your ex-spouse has tickets to the Chicago Cubs and you know they love the Cubs, don't block it because it's "my time." Instead, show the kids how happy you are that they get to have a fun experience with your co-parent.
  4. Keep things consistent: If there are things your child always enjoyed when you were together, give them the opportunity to continue doing them.

You're not committed to each other anymore, but you're committed to your kids. Do your best to make summer – and every season – the best you can for your kids. If you believe your co-parent is making unreasonable child custody or visitation requests, or is violating an existing agreement, you might consider chatting with an Illinois family law attorney.

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