Video:How to be a Summer Dadwith Neil Chethik
If you're a divorced father waiting for an exciting summer with your kids, then these tips are for you. Learn what you can do to be the best summer dad.See Transcript
Transcript:How to be a Summer DadHi, Neil Chethik for About.Com Parenting. If you are a divorced father, you know how challenging it can be to stay connected to your kids, especially if you do not live in the same town as they do.
Many of you count on those six or eight weeks during the summer when your children come to live with you. But how do you make the best of that time, how can you be the best summer dad, how can you ensure that when the summer is over, you have deepened your relationship with your kids?
Plan the Summer EarlyThe first rule of being a summer dad is to plan early. Months before your visit begins, start talking to the kids about how you see the visit unfolding. And listen to their ideas. Maybe you agree on some day camps attend, or a trip make with them. Give them realistic expectations.
Keep the Summer Transition NormalOnce the kids arrive, don't treat them like special guests. What they really want is a normal life. Make sure they have some chores to do. And give them what most kids need during the summer: lots of time with their friends, and a well-stocked refrigerator.
Spend the Summer OutdoorsThirdly, get into nature. Kids like amusement parks and video game arcades. But most will cherish the memories of being outdoors with their dads: hiking, fishing, camping, eating s-mores around a fire. These are the activities that really stick with kids, and connect them to you for a lifetime.
Engage in Each Kid's InterestsFour, treat every child differently. If you have more than one child, spend at least some time alone with each one. Every child has different needs, different reactions to the divorce. Some may be angry or depressed. By spending one-on-one time, they have a chance to get your undivided attention, which they deserve.
Wrap Up the Summer Visit PositivelyFinally, say good-bye with intention. During the last weekend, perhaps, put together a photo album, or a memory book that they, and you, can keep copies of. Talk about the highs and lows of the summer. It's even a good time to begin planning for next year.
Stay Involved With the KidsOf course, in between visits, keep in close touch with your kids. Call them, e-mail them, text-message them. Do whatever it takes to remain a presence in their lives. be happier, and have a much firmer foundation on which to build their lives.
This is Neil Chethik for About.com Parenting. See you around.
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