Three times a year we encourage parents to sit down together at a coffee shop or similar and think ahead to plan for their children. Now is the perfect time to think about summer!

Let’s 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.

Like each Planning Meeting (in August – covering the first semester of school, and in January – covering the second semester of school), in March/April, parents follow-up on special events, developmental needs, health care planning, educational needs (summer school this year? driver’s education?), athletics and any other agenda items. Parents consider and plan for whatever’s relevant to the kids and their two-home family life for this upcoming summer.

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 is 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!

More on the Tri-Annual Co-Parent Planning Meetings in “The Co-Parents’ Handbook” available on Amazon. If you believe you and your co-parent are ready to try and planning meeting, but would like help, ask a co-parent coach or family therapist to facilitate your first meeting or two. Find your way to what works!