How Will Coronavirus Change Your Summer Parenting Plan?

While we all hope life returns to normal very soon, we have to accept that social distancing may be here-to-stay for awhile. This may mean that for your kids, life will still be very different this summer. There may not be summer day camps, overnight camps, group lessons, trips to the pool, or summer sports. There may not be summer vacations, camping trips, or time with grand parents. If the coronavirus continues to disrupt life – will you need to renegotiate your summer parenting plan?

Will Travel Be a Problem for the Summer?

Do you and your Ex live in different towns? Does one parent have extended summer parenting time because they don’t see the kids as much during the school year? Whether your kids stay the summer with one parent or have an extended stay during the summer break, things may be more complicated because of travel. It’s not completely clear if flights will be affordable, safe, and available. You may have to negotiate logistics and general finances.

It’s possible that coronavirus hot-spots will pop-up throughout the summer. While the East Coast and West Coast may be hitting peak in April and May, other parts of the country may not see their peak until June or even July. As some states ease restrictions, we must expect those areas to see an increase in virus cases.

You may have concerns about sending your child to an area that is experiencing it’s peak cases when your area is out of the woods. There may be some concerns about conflicting state recommendations. Is social distancing accepted as mandatory and necessary in one location but do activities remain normal in the other state of residency? How do you weigh and balance the risks? Do you follow federal CDC guidelines or those of local mayors and state governors?

See In the Time of Covid, What do You do if Your State has Different Rules than the State Where Your Ex Lives?

It is possible that you’ll have to change the summer schedule around what is happening with the virus. Just keep in mind, if the schedule has to change because of the virus, then likely the rest of life will not be fully normal so schedules should be able to stay somewhat flexible.

Also be prepared: while there may be more problems and fewer options for transportation and exchanges June 1st, by June 15th things may be very different so you’ll have to be ready to quickly implement parenting time. A delay does not mean a permanent change.

Do You Have a Plan if Social Activities Are Cancelled?

Do you rely on camps, grandparents, or group activities to help with child care over the summer? If these activities are cancelled, will you be able to maintain the current status quo? Either by working at home or through paying help you normally don’t pay? What if one parent is still able to work from home but the other parent has to put the kids in a daycare facility? If one person’s job gets called back before daycares re-open, while the other parent is still working from home – some accommodations may need to be made.

Depending on what kind of restrictions are still in place, try to make an effort to keep up on physical activities with your children. If soccer and softball are cancelled, make an extra effort to kick a ball around or play catch more than usual. If you can find a park that’s not overly crowded, try to take educational nature hikes, or find different neighborhoods and areas to walk around and explore. Anything that’s different and lets you soak in some sunshine (while socially distancing 🙂 ).

What if Summer is Your Main Parenting Time?

If you live far apart from your child, then courts will be more likely to enforce your parenting time over the summer. Be prepared to protect your child from getting sick and to strictly adhere to the recommended guidance from your state, or maybe even take additional precautions. If you live in a state that has relaxed its guidelines, but your kids are coming from an area that has a higher risk and is still on lock-down, making a few compromises towards erring on the side of safety may be good. This isn’t about giving in to an ex, it’s about making sure your kids are healthy and safe, and recognizing people are nervous and for good reason.

Remember, each of us may be viewing the risk and effects of this situation very differently, so instead of getting frustrated by your Ex’s perception of the problem, try to remain calm and explain your position. Coming to some sort of reasonable compromise on precautions may be a good solution.

Get Covid Health Resources Here.

Because this is a problem facing the whole nation, no one can escape the threat this poses. Parents and children deserve to spend time together so it will be better to try to find ways to minimize risk and follow the parenting plan than to miss out on contact over summer. At this time when kids are isolated from friends and family, they become much more dependent on their parents to meet their social needs. Take advantage of people being at home, having more time, and reach out to your kids on a regular basis!!!

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