Creating a Summer Parenting Plan

Putting together a fun summer plan for your kids is a big job.  When you and your co-parent are trying to coordinate schedules, it makes things that much more complicated. We care about supporting each parent and family, and we know coming up with a parenting plan is difficult and rarely straightforward. 

It’s helpful to connect with us to find out what’s worked for other families, and what factors need to be considered. How old are your kids, and what summer camps and activities do they like to participate in? Do you live far away from their other parent? Are there any vacations or other events that may affect your parenting time?

man jump in mid air on body of water

Our primary goal is to help you create a plan tailored to the needs of you, your kids, and your co-parent.

How do we talk about a summer parenting plan?

Set up a summer planning meeting with your co-parent long before Target sets out the sunscreen kiosks at the front of the store.  Because camps fill up quickly and airline tickets get more expensive the longer you wait to book them, it is best to come up with your plans for the kids in January or February.  Approach the conversation with your co-parent with an open mind, and remember that compromise and flexibility are important in situations where both parents want different things. 

Most Common Summer Parenting Schedules

There isn’t a “best” summer parenting schedule because “best” will look different for each family. The most common summer parenting plans are:

  • 50/50 Plan: One week with one parent and the next with the other.
    • This plan can work well for elementary school age children because it adheres to the typical schedule of a week-long summer day camp, making it easy for parents to share time with their kids and pick camps on their own time.
    • For a long-distance plan, parents might choose to spend several consecutive weeks rather than week by week to cut down on travel costs.
  • Alternating two-week block: Two weeks with one parent and the next two weeks with the other.
    • This plan works well for older children (middle/high school) and for families who want to plan a longer vacation, like a trip to Europe.  
    • If there are an uneven number of weeks in the summer, you might need to bookend the summer with one week only for each parent.  

How does my child’s age impact my summer parenting plan?

Consistency and predictability are helpful for young children, but older children and teenagers want flexibility and a part in decision-making for their summer plans.

Very young children (5 and under) might do best with short, frequent visits with both parents, and may not be able to tolerate more than a few days away from each parent. However, school-aged children often have a blend of structured activities and free time during the summer that need to be considered. Parenting plans may need to account for camps, vacations, and time with friends. Week on/week off parenting plan for elementary school aged children tends to be very popular. 

boy in blue shirt screaming near boy in green crew-neck shirt

Teenagers seek autonomy and opportunities for self-expression. Longer stretches of time with each parent can allow for deeper connections and shared experiences. Involving your teenagers in the planning process will give them a voice and sense of ownership in their summer activities. Remember, as kids get older, their primary relationship shifts from parents to friends.  So if you feel ignored, you are probably doing a good job as a parent!

How is summer parenting different when one parent has more custody than the other?

Summer parenting plans can vary significantly depending on the custody agreement you have with your children’s other parent. Even if you are not the primary parent, the parenting plan will often still provide you with a week or two of vacation each summer with the children. Our collaborative and trusted team can help you further understand your custody agreement and its possible effect on your summer parenting plan and schedule. We provide guidance on developing a schedule, resolving conflict, and setting you up for a smooth transition into the summer months. 

group of children pulling brown rope

It’s important to keep a structured schedule for your kids’ lives during the summer, and a summer parenting plan will allow for that. We want to empower you to create a summer parenting plan that works for your family, promoting stability and positive relationships. With our support, you can approach the summer months with confidence, knowing that you have the tools and resources necessary to navigate this journey successfully. Let’s work together to make this summer a memorable and enjoyable time for everyone involved.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.