As we head into the summer months and vacations begin, be sure to keep some smart parenting tips in mind as you embark on this summer’s adventure. First, remember to communicate with your co-parent about your vacation plans. Remember that the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines contain the following direction: “For emergency notification purposes, whenever a child travels out of the area with either parent, one of the following shall be provided to the other parent: An itinerary of travel dates, destinations, and places where the child or the traveling parent can be reached, or the name and telephone number of an available third person who knows where the child or parent may be located.”

Even on vacation, your co-parent is entitled to reasonable telephone access with the child. There is no need for telephone calls to interrupt vacation plans, but a quick call to the other parent is both courteous and smart. Children having a great time want to tell the other parent all about the fun. This in no way diminishes the vacation experience, but actually lets your child experience it more fully.

Finally, don’t let passports become a battle ground. A child must have a passport for all international travel including travel to Canada and Mexico. Minors seeking a passport must personally appear to complete the application process usually along with both parents. That means that parents must cooperate to obtain a passport or the child misses out on exciting travel opportunities. Once the child has a passport, it should be available to either parent for travel with the child. Discuss and agree on a procedure for storing and accessing the passport to avoid arguments and ruined vacation plans.

Summer vacation season should be a period of relaxation and enjoyment for your child. Always keep your child’s best interests in mind as he or she embarks on summer travel with either parent. Maintain communication with your co-parent and enjoy your extended time with your child!