As the summer months approach, activities that are unique to summer remind us of how important it is to plan year-round. With your children out of school, many parents look for programs and activities to bolster academics, spark interests and passions, or supplement athletic talents by enrolling them in away and day camps that can keep them from sitting in front of the TV or computer all summer especially if both parents work.

Before you and your spouse begin mediation, it is vital for both of you to know your children's interests and the venue they want to pursue. You need to know this because there is a lot of work involved in choosing a program and costs associated with these programs.

Investigating youth summer camps is one of the most important things you will do in planning for the safety of your child. Remember, the Internet is your best friend in locating a camp and thoroughly investigating its references, staff, facilities, and reputation. Google is the answer to an anxious parent's prayer. Getting a full listing of all full and part time staff, their vendors, and consultants is the first step. Investigate everyone on the list. Be wary of people who change jobs frequently or have been associated with any illegal or unethical practices.

But who is going to do this work? Who is going to provide transportation? Who is going to pay for camp? What about recitals, parents' days, or performances? Parents can alternate events or put differences aside and be there for their child, but these decisions must be made in mediation and included in your divorce agreement. In the event that your children currently have no interest in away or day camps, remember you can return to mediation to modify your agreement.

There is an important consideration when thinking about camps. Some children are not comfortable going away from home or new social situations, especially closely following a divorce. Talk and listen to your children on this subject and follow their lead. Nothing can be so harmful as to force your child to go to camp even if you feel that once tried, they will love it. After divorce, with the family dynamic changing so much, it is important to let your child define his or her changing role in the family and "being sent away" can undo all your hard work done to reestablishing security and self-esteem.

Some children look at the wide variety of available programs and see opportunities to indulge their interests and spend time learning and socializing with like-minded young people. This experience can build confidence and independence, and if you sense your child is interested, you should encourage them to try new things.

Author's Bio: 

Brian James is a mediator with C.E.L. and Associates, a mediation, therapy, and coaching services firm with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. Learn more about the advantages of mediation and co mediation in Illinois for divorce at Visit our blog for information tips, trends, and advice on mediation and divorce at