Six Tips to Surviving School Holidays for Co-Parents
For families who are co-parenting school holidays can be fraught with challenges. Here’s a few tips from the team at Edgar and Wood on how to survive the holidays and create happy memories for your children.
By planning ahead, it is easier to avoid any potential tension or conflict that may arise. You should discuss any school holiday arrangements such as who will have the children and when, with your co-parent prior to the commencement of holidays. This way, when the time comes, there is no confusion and no need to make last minute arrangements, which can be quite stressful for both parents.
When discussing your school holiday arrangements, try not to leave anything undecided. Be specific in decisions such as what days the changeovers will occur, where they will occur and at what time. Don’t leave things to be decided at a later point in time, as this allows conflict to arise out of decisions that were not specified. “Let’s just wing it” or “see how we feel on the day”, can often lead to disappointment and confusion.
It is important that when organising time spent with children that you keep an open-mind. While you should make specific plans, you should also be prepared to be flexible. Co-parenting requires both parties to give and take. Focus on one aspect of your school holiday plans that is important to you, work on preserving that, and be prepared to negotiate on other areas. By keeping an open-mind, it is less likely that should things not go exactly the way you had hoped, you will be less disappointed with the overall outcome.
KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE CHILDREN
When making arrangements with your co-parent about the school holidays, it is vital that the focus remains on what is best for the children. This can even mean doing your part to make them feel excited and happy about spending time with the other parent. Where possible try to ensure that the children will get to spend some time with both sides of the family. It is also important to consider how the children would like to spend their holidays. If they are old enough, ask and discuss how they would like to spend the holidays.
EMBRACE YOUR CHILD FREE TIME
All the logistics and challenges that go with co-parenting can be exhausting, especially if you’re a single parent. If you do have time on the holidays without the kids, take some time out for yourself to recoup and rejuvenate. It doesn’t have to be an expensive holiday, it might just be quiet mediation (with no interruptions), going for a long walk, doing some fun home renovations while the bedrooms are uninhabited, gardening, or having dinner with friends. The more refreshed and energised you feel when the children return to you, the more positive their overall holiday experience will be.
Rather than focusing on just these particular school holidays, look towards the long term goals. In ten years from now, what will be important to you and what do you want the children to remember? More than anything, children want holidays that are enjoyable and fun. If there is conflict between co-parents regarding the school holidays, you run the risk of the children’s childhood memories being overshadowed by the arguments and stress. Instead, do your best to keep the peace and help to build fond memories filled with special times that they spent with their parents.