Three times a year, we encourage parents to sit down together at a coffee shop and think ahead to plan for their children. It's a great opportunity to get those vacations-with-parents on the books, discuss the timing for special extended-family events (weddings, reunions, birthdays), summer camps, activities, weekends at the cabin, and child-care.When parents anticipate kids' needs, life in a two-home family runs much smoother for everyone. Who's signing which kids up for what camps? Bring the camp and day-care information to your business meeting so you're equipped to evaluate timing and cost in the overall arc of summer activities and fun. Is someone playing Little League or going to cheer camp?
As kids get older, summer becomes an extension of their on-going busy schedules, and an additional practice field for their year-round sports. Making equipment decisions, resolving concerns about supervision, and setting boundaries on what's possible are all part of being strong co-parents.
Now is the perfect time to review summer clothing needs. Kids grow! What does the oldest need this summer, what can be handed down, and what simply needs to be replaced? Together, parents can divide the tasks and conquer, managing some of these important day-to-day considerations.
It's also an opportune time to touch base on current academic performance and the spring extracurricular schedule. Are we on track for Mother's Day/Father's Day, and Memorial Day weekend? Do we have prom or graduation to plan for?
When parents plan, bring their agenda to the meeting, take good notes, type them up and distribute, conflict is diminished, communication strengthened—and kids lives move forward!
Written by Karen Bonnell
Karen has over 25 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and families facing transition, loss, stress, and change. She played an instrumental role in developing the year-long facilitator-training program for the Compassionate Listening Project, served on the board of King County Collaborative Law and Collaborative Professionals of Washington, and is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and Academy of Professional Family Mediators. Ms. Bonnell is the author of "The Co-Parents' Handbook" and "The Parenting Plan Handbook." Learn more about Karen Bonnell and her practice at CoachMediateConsult.com.