With Summer quickly approaching, a lot of non-custodial parents (who are usually dads) are about to embark on yet another Summer visitation. With that being said, having a productive Summer visitation with your children should be on every dad’s wish list. Most people see Summer visitation as images of beaches, amusement parks, going to bed late and getting up even later. However, while our children deserve to have fun during the Summer, it should also be a productive time for them as well. While our children undoubtedly are expectant of a fun Summer visitation, dads need to be careful not to “over do” or for a lack of better words, fall into the trap of the “disneyland dad” syndrome. Summer visitation is a very important bonding time with your children, which should be fairly uninterrupted by the custodial parent, but also time that should be balanced by productiveness.
Being able to spend extra quality time with your children and making lasting memories with them will take them through the rest of their lives. With that, creating a positive experience during this time can be challenging without good preparation. As such, preparation should also include your children. Making plans ahead of time with your children’s involvement can be a fun activity. For example, making weekly phone calls and perhaps exchanging emails to discuss updates and new plans. By doing this you also strengthen the communication between yourself and your children as well. By making them a part of the planning, they will feel that their voices are being heard and their ideas considered as well.
Remember, by using your extended time well with your children, you will be making lasting memories that will pay great dividends in the future. As parents, the most precious gift we can give our children is that of our time. Your personal investment in spending time with your children is worth much more than any gift you can buy them.
Here are a few planning tips for you dads who might struggle with planning for your Summer visitations:
Turn off the TV and you and your children sit down together and make your Summer activity “Wish List.”
Plan a Summer road trip. Whether it be a day trip or a weekend trip, explore new ground.
Institute the “Summer Book Club.” Read with your children. Check out books at the library or purchase them and have family discussions about same. This is a great, fun way to incorporate the much needed reading time over the Summer.
Hit your local museums for the day. Another way to incorporate education.
Organize a family reunion. Take the extra time to allow your children to visit your extended family.
Volunteer. There are lot of opportunities for people of all ages to volunteer. Volunteering teaches humility, self-respect, respect for others, and most importantly, builds character in our children. Teaching children to give of themselves is a life-long lesson that they will pass on for years to come.
Check out fun Summer day camps. All children benefit from social interaction outside of school.
Lastly, keep in mind, especially if there is a large geographical difference between your home and the custodial parents home, that Summer visitation can be an emotional time for children. Helping them to prepare ahead of time helps to calm their anxieties. Allowing your children to have somewhat frequent contact with the custodial parent gives them a sense of security and helps to calm their nerves about becoming homesick. However, its also important that custodial parents remember how important it is for their children to have that uninterrupted quality/bonding time with the non-custodial parent as it makes for extremely well-rounded children who are filled with self-esteem because they are encouraged to have healthy relationships with both of their parents.
May your Summer visitation be productive, filled with lasting memories and full of fun times!
Peace & Blessings,