Co-parenting done properly requires, communication, acceptance and most of all flexibility. Visitation schedules are in place however when one parent needs to switch weekend or needs flexibility would you comply?
With Spring break and summer around the corner parents will set up vacations, work hours might increase, out of town guest might pop up, whatever the circumstances, you'll find that your co-parent will probably need to rearrange visitation schedule and or trade days.
The answer should be an automatic yes, unless you've already set up something that you're unable to rearrange then flexibility should be extended. Who are you hurting if you say no? Maybe the other parent but for sure the children will be crushed. Realistically vacations are always best arranged on the parents parenting time, but sometimes that can't be arranged due to work schedules, hotel reservations or the specific events you are trying to go on vacation for family reunions, school reunions, are just some examples of certain dilemmas.
If you have a co-parent that's reasonably accommodating, then yes. When you have an unresonable person that continuously takes, never gives and constantly switches, then unfortunately the answer would have to be no and you have to follow your visitation agreement to the T.
When moments arise that flexibility is needed it's better to switch or give time when the situation warrants. Talk to the other parent, reschedule your times, evenly distribute dates if possible. Sometimes you might not get what you want but what matters is that your child gets what they need.
Once you've figured out schedules remember during vacations extra expense might add up. Establish ahead of time who will handle extra summer expenses. Discuss childcare, camp tuition, extra curricular activities and more, how will they be paid and by whom so there isn't any surprises. Your children do not need to know how an activity will be paid, all they need to know is that they are going to have fun.
In certain instances if you have older children, speak to them when making summer plans so both parents can incorporate their needs and what they would like to do. Ask them how they envision their summer to be. Work with your co-parent to take everyone's wishes into consideration. Both parents can sit down together, have the discussion with the kids, however the scheduling will be done between the parents, privately without the child around.
Your kids need to know that you both love them. Summer time and vacations are a way to create wonderful memories that will last them a lifetime. Give your children your attention while you've got them, carpe diem! When they're spending time with the other parent let them enjoy themselves and when they return ask them about their adventures. There's a fine line here, your not giving them the inquisition, you're chatting, showing interest in their life, what they've done, explored, learned, et cetra, you want them to know you care even when they aren't with you. Make sure they know you support their relationship with the other parent. Let them know that their happiness and well being is all that matters.
Do your best to work things out since it's in the kids' best interest however and here's the caveat, don't let yourself get walked all over and lose time by having your plans rearranged and disrupted if you're dealing with a non reciprocating co-parent. Remember co-parenting is about managing your divided family and keeping everything running smoothly, it's equivalent to managing a business. It's not personal, it's business, if you remember this one rule you'll be golden.
Happy summer ~ Kat