• The Mama

Summer Planning with your Co-Parent

Since we took a big family trip in April to Switzerland (you can read about that here), another big vacation just wasn't in the budget for summer. So what does one do with your children during the summer? For us, we are planning a few small mini stay-cation activities we can do on a budget.

This is our last summer with our son, before he becomes a big kid and starts Kindergarten. I thought that I would like to try and cherish every single moment as much as possible with him. Our goal as parents, is to give our son

really great memories from his childhood and to know that he is always loved. We try and accomplish this by spending time with him instead of spending money on him.

1. Every year I participate in a week long scavenger hunt for charity. GISH (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt). It focuses on doing weird, fun, creative and often embarrassing things in public. But there are also many items that focus on making the world a better place, giving back and helping those less fortunate. For me, these are wonderful things to teach my son, and have fun in the process. And Dan even helped me out with an item last year (beard garden)!

2. Visiting a friend at the beach for the weekend. Having fun and spending time with my son can often be a challenge because I have him during the week. All of our friends are working and in school during the week. All of the fun activities happen on the weekend. This means that we miss out on a lot of stuff. So when we do have mini vacations or a fun day, it's usually just the two of us. Another option is to switch days with your co-parent. We are lucky that we have a good enough relationship that we can ask each other this without the other getting upset. So this summer, that's what we did.

3. Earlier in the summer we spent a couple weeks visiting with my mom in Arizona. During this time, my ex missed his normal days with him. We video chatted often and I constantly sent pictures. When we got back my son went to stay with his dad for the entire week, to make up for some missed snuggles.

4. Day trip to San Diego. I went to University in San Diego and I have a special relationship with the area. I love visiting it every chance I get. It is only a few hours from us, but when we go I try and stay the night somewhere and have two days to explore and do fun things. Even just one night in a hotel plus food and gas and activities can add up quickly. So, I usually ask Dan if he has any hotel points I can use. He travels 60% of the time for his job and he has a lot of points. He will often use them on his vacations too, but if I can snag some I always try! And he is always willing to share them with me, because he knows that we need a little fun too. I just asked my son what he wants to do and he suggested a trip to San Diego. While there he asked to go to a museum and relax. I can't think of a better way to spend the day.

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