Stepfamilies face the emotional and physical adjustments in the transition from one household to another. Custody changes are more frequent during the summer months. The better the relationship between the households, the more flexible they are with scheduling visitations. In many cases, children visit the non-custodial parent for 2-8 weeks, while in others, there is equal custody and changes in the children’s schedules are minimal.
To maximize your stepfamily’s success during the summer please follow these tips:
- Communicate clearly with your spouse, a couple of months before your children’s visit, regarding both of your expectations of the children and yourselves. Reach a mutually acceptable agreement as to the stepparent’s involvement with the children.
- Allow the children a couple of days to adjust to your household . At the end of their visit, they might need a couple of days to prepare for returning to the other parent.
- Schedule regular meetings of about 15-45 minute length, to be held at least 3 times a week, between you and your spouse. It can do wonders for your relationship and the family atmosphere.
- Take care of yourself and your spouse during the children’s visit. Go out to dinner with your significant other once a week. It is important to communicate to the children that your marriage continues to function even when they are around.
- Each week, plan time alone with each child, and with all of the children together. It may be at home playing board games, going swimming, heading out for dinner, or watching a movie.
- Make yourself available to the children, but avoid forcing them into too many family activities. Remember, this is their summer vacation; let them enjoy it!
- Include a lot of fun-filled activities for your children, and remember to balance their stay with age-appropriate chores.