Divorce is never easy, but the months and years that follow a divorce can be especially difficult for parents. The first summer after a divorce is often filled with new challenges as both parents and children adjust to the changes of navigating two separate households. As difficult as this time may seem, it’s important to remember that you can still find joy and make lasting memories during this time. Especially for school-aged children, the first summer after divorce can be a time of bonding and reassurance.
Here are five tips for navigating the first post-divorce summer as a parent:
#1. Reassure Your Kids with Routines
Especially because summer is a time when the routine of school is missing, keeping routines consistent at home can help children adjust to the many changes in their home life. Keeping a consistent rhythm to their days can help reassure children during uncertain times – even something as simple as keeping a regular bedtime routine can help provide children with a sense of security in their day-to-day lives.
Regular enrichment activities or summer day camps can also help to provide routine and fill those long summer days productively while also helping to alleviate some of the childcare conundrums that can be especially challenging post-divorce. It’s important to keep in mind that most summer camps open for registration in the spring, so you’ll want to plan ahead if possible.
#2. Get Creative with Scheduling
While routines are important for children, summer can also be a good opportunity to think outside the box with scheduling parenting time. Your ability to be flexible will likely depend on the relationship you have with your ex and the ability of each of you to communicate productively about temporary adjustments to the parenting schedule established in your parenting plan.
If it seems possible, you may both find it helpful to add more flexibility into your schedule so that each of you has some wiggle room over the summer when needed. For example, if one parent is traveling for work or has a vacation planned, that parent could request extra visitation time in advance and make sure to coordinate with the other parent accordingly.
#3. Give Your Children Opportunities to Talk About How They Are Feeling
The lull of activity during the summer months can be a good time to check in with your children about how they’re processing all the changes in their life. It is important for children to have the opportunity to talk about their feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Parents can create this space by encouraging children to express themselves through conversations, art projects, or activities such as journaling. Taking the time to listen and understand your child’s point of view is essential in helping them process their emotions, whether it’s sadness, anger, or confusion.
The summer after divorce can also be a good time to assess whether they might benefit from the professional support of a therapist. Even children who seem to be adjusting well might benefit from the opportunity to process such a monumental life change.
#4. Take Time for Yourself
Especially if you were the primary caregiver for your children, you might struggle at first with a shared custody schedule. Many parents find it challenging to cope with evenings alone after divorce, but this can be a great opportunity to invest in yourself.
Taking the time to relax and care for yourself during the post-divorce transition period can help enable you to be a better parent to your children. Finding activities that help to reduce stress, such as yoga, meditation, or even just taking a walk outdoors can be beneficial in helping you unwind and recharge. Additionally, it’s important to engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby or spending more time with friends, there are many ways to make sure your mental health is taken care of during this time. Taking the time to focus on yourself can help alleviate some of the stress that comes along with going through a divorce.
In addition to finding time for yourself, it’s also important to stay connected with supportive family members and friends during this journey. Talking with people who have gone through similar experiences can provide insight into how they navigated their own transitions and what tips they may have learned along the way. You may also consider talking with a therapist if you need additional support or guidance throughout this process. It’s important to remember that although this transition period may feel overwhelming at times, having a strong support system can help carry you through any difficult moments.
#5. Find New Activities to Do Together
Finding new activities to do together as a family can be an excellent way to create lasting memories and reassure your children of your shared bond. Exploring the outdoors through camping, hiking, or fishing can be a great opportunity for families to rediscover themselves after divorce. Whether that means visiting a national park or taking a dip in the local pool, taking advantage of the summer weather as a family can be an enriching and healing experience.
In addition to outdoor activities, there are plenty of other ways for families to bond and have fun during the summer months. Arts and crafts projects such as creating homemade cards, painting pottery, or at home movie nights can provide both entertainment and a shared experience. You may also consider enrolling in family-friendly classes like cooking or dance lessons which allow everyone to learn something new together.
When to Call an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Making decisions about child custody can be difficult and emotional for all parties involved. An experienced child custody attorney can help guide you through this process and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. At Gille Kaye Law Group, PC we understand how hard the divorce process – and the months and years that follow – can be for families. That is why our family law attorneys are here to provide compassionate guidance and support throughout this process. We will take the time to listen to your story, help you understand your legal rights, and ensure that your interests are protected every step of the way.
Contact us online or call us at (626) 340-0955 to schedule a consultation.