If you have recently gone through a divorce or are currently going through one, the summer may seem like a daunting proposition. A season typically filled with leisure, relaxation and fun in the sun may now bring up feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. This is especially true if there are children involved. As parents, you will certainly want to make the transition as easy as possible for your children, and this can be more complicated in summer when school is out and many embark on annual family vacations.

But there are ways to ease the anxiety and lessen the complexities of post-divorce summer vacations. While life has changed, summer can still be a time of fun and excitement for your children. With a little planning and communication, the transition can be made easier to navigate in the upcoming summer months.

If the divorce is fresh or is still being finalized, children may still be getting used to new living arrangements and schedules. Without school as a daily constant, schedules need to be reconsidered. Each divorce is different, and planning a schedule that works is something that should be carefully considered given your unique circumstances. With communication and thoughtful planning, a summer schedule can be created that will provide a smooth transition.

The thought of previous summers and family vacations may be emotional for all involved. While the first summer after a divorce will not be easy, it can be made easier for children through scheduling and communication. Talking about summer plans with your ex may not be easy, but it is necessary to make a child’s summer as enjoyable as possible.

Scheduling and communication are key in the summer when both parents may want to plan getaways with the kids. For example, the Fourth of July is a popular holiday for children and both parents may have plans in mind. By talking about it in advance and making these difficult decisions early, there will be less anxiety and uncertainty as July approaches. Often times, divorced parents will alternate holidays each year, and this can be a smart way to approach more general summer vacation plans as well.

If the divorce is still fresh and emotions are high, it may be overwhelming to think about having these types of conversations, but your children will surely benefit. Having a mental health professional act as facilitator is one way to coordinate a conversation between parents who may not be on the best terms.

As time goes by, things will get easier, and getting through this first summer is the first step. If children are old enough, it is smart to listen to their thoughts and opinions and involve them in a portion of the planning process. After all, it is their summer vacation too.  Younger children may not fully understand, and so a schedule will help provide a calm transition with as little turmoil as possible.

Co-parenting can be tough, especially during the first summer after a divorce, but with clear avenues of communication and a schedule decided upon in advance, summer can bring a surprising amount of enjoyment for your children — and you, as well.