Many school children are currently sitting or getting ready to sit their exams. This can only mean that the summer holidays will be with us before too long.
For many parents, the six week summer break is a deviation from the normal settled term time routine. That means that how the six week summer break is split will need to be agreed. The summer holidays is a time when you can look forward to spending extended amounts of time with the children, possibly taking them away on holiday.
Here are our top tips for dealing with the issues that may arise when trying to agree summer holiday arrangements.
Be prepared in advance
The earlier you can make arrangements for the summer school holidays, the less stressful it is likely to be in the longer term. Firstly, have your own position sorted as soon as possible.
- Make a list of what you would like to happen. Would you like to go on holiday? Which dates would be the most convenient?
- Confirm your work commitments during the holidays
- Write down some details of some time you may like to yourself – do you and your partner want to go away without the children?
Discuss the options as soon as possible
Discuss your goals with the other parent to your children. Are they in agreement with your ideas or do you need to negotiate arrangements? As mentioned, try to do this sooner rather than later so that any plans you have in mind are not frustrated. We recommend that you have this discussion as soon as you can, if you have not already done so.
Keep all discussions child-focussed
When trying to reach an agreement with the other parent, try to keep in mind at all times what will be beneficial to the children. It is very easy to think about arrangements in terms of “your time” and “my time” when it is in fact the children’s time to enjoy with each parent. If you are struggling with a particular issue or have reached a loggerheads, try writing down a list of what will be beneficial to the children about these arrangements.
Encourage your children
On top of all this, your children may be anxious about spending time away with the other parent. To assist them, you may want to consider suggesting that your children do the following whilst they are away:
- Keep a log of what they get up to on holiday so they can tell you all about it when they return
- Take some home comforts with them on holiday so that they have the reassurance of having something from home – for example a toy, a book or even a piece of clothing.
- To send a postcard or arrange a phone call so that the children are aware that they can contact you if needs be. The children should also be encouraged that they can share their experiences with both parents, regardless of whose care they were in at that particular time. Although it is likely that you may miss your children terribly whilst they are away from you, it is important to be respectful to your co-parent. The frequency of your contact with the children when they are not in your care should be entirely based on their needs rather than those of the individual parents involved.
Don’t face it alone and do something for yourself
Use those around you to support you during the time your children are away if you are concerned about being without them. It is always a good idea to have something planned yourself such as a holiday or time with family or friends. This means that:
- Your children won’t be concerned about you because they know you will be doing something and enjoying yourself without them
- You are also doing something that you can enjoy and have some quality time doing something for yourself whilst your children are away.
If you and your former partner are struggling to confirm arrangements between you, do not worry. Come and obtain some specialist advice and assistance from a member of the team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys.