There are three types of days you should consider when crafting your parenting plan. It will help you have the most complete and comprehensive plan you can have.
So obviously you’re going to think about the weekdays and weekends. Monday through Friday the kids are usually in school. Saturday and Sunday are normal days for relaxing, getting housework done, visiting with friends and family, and going to a religious service. You should also consider summertime a normal day. Even though the kids aren’t in school during the summer, there are a lot of days in summer and chances are you aren’t traveling on vacation the whole summer long. For these normal days you want to think about what your regular schedule is when they’re in school, on the weekend and summertime. This is the backbone of your plan. This is the baseline that your parenting plan reverts to when it’s not a holiday and you’re not on vacation. Almost everyone completes this step but many people stop right there. You should go two steps further.
The second thing you should consider are major holidays that your family celebrates. If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving then don’t put it in your plan, but if you do then you should. The major holidays to consider are Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Hanukkah, Ramadan and any other important religious or cultural holidays. If you’re not sure what holidays to include then think about the experiences and traditions you want to instill in your children growing up and that should help you narrow down the days. You might also want to think about how you’re going to spend your birthday with the kids and how you’ll spend their birthday with them. Here’s another post I wrote that explains how parents usually share the holidays.
The third type of day is vacation days. You’ll need to have a conversation with your coparent about how many days you will both allow one another to take vacation with the kids each year. Many times people will each do a week in the summer. You’ll also need to talk and be on the same page to decide if it’s okay for the kids to miss school in order to go on a vacation. It’s also a good idea to preplan how much notice you’ll each give each other so that vacations don’t get double booked. For example, you could put in your parenting plan that you’ll each notify one another by April 1 of your vacation plans for the summer.
The other thing I want you to think about is vacation without the kids! Going on vacation without them is a great benefit of being divorced. I know you love your children, but it is nice to have a break and take a grown-up vacation. It’s like a vacation from your vacation with the kids; even if it’s just a weekend away.
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