21 May Planning the kid’s summer holiday with your ex
You might have heard married parents groaning about how on earth they are going to fill 8 weeks of summer holiday with entertainment for the kids. However single parents have a completely different challenge. How do we agree a summer holiday schedule that works for both parents and also the kids? Often the holiday will be split 50/50 so this means you will need to agree who has which dates and with so much time to organise it can become tricky.
There are so many things to take into consideration including:
- The relationship between both parents
- Work commitments
- Kids activities that are on set dates such a camps or sporting events
- Other events that fall throughout the summer holiday for each parent such as weddings, trips abroad with friends
- Parents partners and their availability
- Children from other relationships and their availability
- How long should young children be away from their main base in one go
If you have an amicable relationship with your ex it may well be easier to negotiate how to split the time between you both. It will need some give and take on both sides so it is helpful if you can be friendly and understanding about it.
If there are other children and partners to take into consideration this can become extremely complicated to organise especially if you need everyone to be free to go away together. It will mean co-ordinating many diaries and will need everyone to stick to the agreed schedule as one small change can cause a huge ripple effect across all the families concerned.
Some of my clients find it hard to cope with the fact that they will be spending a lot of time away from their children over the summer. They worry about how their children will cope without them, especially if their relationship is not amicable with their ex. Many are anxious about feeling lonely and don’t know what they will do without their kids around. It can cause a lot of fear and worry for some parents and it does need careful planning.
If you are planning on travelling abroad with the kids then plan in some acclimatisation time for the children. It can take a few days to settle after being with the other parent as the environment and rules will be different. This is normal so build this into your plan so your child gets time to get used to being with you before you shoot off somewhere new. A few nights in their own bed at the beginning and the end of their time with you can help to keep them more balanced and settled and make it a lot easier for them to enjoy their time with you.
Remember that when your child is away it is their chance for quality time with your ex. Even though you may not see eye to eye with your ex it is healthy for your child to spend some time with them. It may be hard not to speak to them every day but sometimes children find it easier to settle in if you are not in constant contact with them. It can allow them to relax and fit in with the new regime without reminders of what they are missing. You must put your children’s interest first here and decide what is best for them as every child and situation is different.
My tips for planning the summer holidays with your ex:
- Always aim to do what is best for the kids and have their best interests as a priority in this
- Start to plan at least 3 months in advance
- If you know you would like specific dates flag them up to your ex as soon as possible
- Agree on the maximum amount of time the kids will be away with each parent in one stretch. If the children are young then this needs careful consideration
- Take into consideration important wellbeing factors such as the children would benefit from being in their main base at least a few days before they start the new school year.
- Be flexible where you can be and remember you will both have to compromise
- Keep the other parent updated with any travel plans abroad and provide them with contact details
- Agree in advance how often you will contact the children whilst they are with the other parent. Explain this to your child before they go so they know what to expect.
- Plan your time without the kids carefully, especially if you are worried about it. Make sure that you fill your time with things that you cannot do whilst they are around for example take on some extra work, dinner with friends, exercise more, take a trip away, pampering, reading a book, going on a date and getting a good night’s sleep!
- Don’t let on to the children if you are worried about them going away. Make sure you send them off excited and happy as it will help them enjoy their time more.
There will inevitably be some tricky moments when planning your summer with your ex. You may also be reminded about all the reasons that you split up in the first place! But it can be made easier by following my tips above and making plans in advance.
Keep focused on your future and remember that everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose. It is never as hard as you think it will be and with time and a few helpful tips it does get easier.