A Guide to Surviving the Summer Holidays

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A Guide to Surviving the Summer Holidays

The school summer holidays are just around the corner and for separated parents, this can bring unwanted challenges.

Families that are all together under one roof can struggle to get through the extended time off when parents try to juggle work schedules, plan holidays and keep the children entertained. So, parents who have parted ways can find this time of year particularly stressful, if they struggle to reach agreement on matters involving the children that the share.

In this blog, we share some ideas to help you survive the six-week holidays as you try to co-parent between separate houses.

Splitting the Six Week Holidays

Every family is different and there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ guide on how to fairly split time with the children over the school holidays. What suits one family, might be totally inappropriate for another.

How you divide out the school holidays will depend on what you agreed when you separated, divorced or attended court for a child arrangements order. It will also depend on your individual circumstances and what works for best for your children and their ages.

Some families will split them equally, taking alternate week’s each. Other families might agree that the children spend one or two week’s of the holiday with the non-resident parent. Other children may spring back and forth from their different households.

It is important to be fair and reasonable, as well as sticking to any pre-agreed terms or court orders during school holidays.

Common Disputes for Separated Parents in the Holidays

It is understandable that you will not always see eye-to-eye with your ex-partner, after all, you are no longer in a relationship for a reason. Some issues that we often see arise include:

  • Disputes about the amount of time each parent has with their children
  • Disagreements about paying for childcare and clubs
  • Parenting disagreements about discipline, behaviour etc.
  • Issues of parents not supporting each other with childcare around work commitments
  • Disputes about taking children abroad
  • Dispute about children going away with a new partner
  • Disagreements on schools

Co-Parenting Tips to Survive the Summer

Co-parenting with an ex-partner is not an easy feat. It requires a lot of patience, flexibility and the ability to remain in control of your emotions and put your children first.

Here are some tips to remind yourself of as we approach the school summer holidays.

  1. Plan Ahead in Plenty of Time

One of the best ways to avoid issues arising is to have a clear plan set out ahead of time. Don’t leave it to the last minute! Planning ahead gives you both time to make arrangements, book time off, book holiday clubs, save money and plan for a summer of fun with your children. If you do run into disagreements with your plans, then you have plenty of time to reach an agreement or get legal advice if required.

  1. Be Fair and Reasonable

Both parents should be courteous when it comes to making arrangements for the school holidays. Try to be as fair as possible so that everyone is getting what they want and need from the summer holidays – both parents and children.

  1. Put the Children First

Remember that you only get a limited number of summers with your children before they grow up. Try to make the holidays a special time for them. This might mean putting aside your disagreements and being more flexible.

  1. Be Organised

The six week’s holidays can be a full-on schedule of events, clubs and important dates. To avoid any mix ups or clashes, get organised and ensure that you and your ex-partner have coordinated dates. You could use a shared calendar or a parenting app to avoid any confusion and keep each other updated with any changes. It is also worthwhile making sure that your children are keeping themselves organised as they move back-and-forth between different houses – left behind chargers, clothes, football boots or favourite toys can cause friction.

  1. Be Flexible

As much as you can have a plan, part of being a parent is to be flexible. Plans might change, children could become ill or you could be let down by your ex partner or your childcare provisions. Have a plan B where possible and try not to let bumps in the road spoil your whole summer.

  1. Travelling Abroad

If you have booked a holiday overseas, make sure that you have obtained consent from the other parent. It is also a good idea to have this in writing, should you be questioned at an airport. Having consent in writing is also a good idea to avoid any confusion or issues if you fall out. Ensure that you have the children’s passports in plenty of time. Out of courtesy you should let their other parent know some basic details about the holiday, i.e. where you are staying, flight times etc. If you are away for some time, make sure that your children have contact with their other parent whilst you are away with a phone call or facetime a couple of times. They will likely want to hear about what they have been up to whilst on holiday.

Navigating Your First Summer Holidays as a Single Parent

If this year is the first time you are experiencing sharing the school holidays, it can be overwhelming, and you might find things upsetting, especially if you parent’s mother or father are taking them away on holiday for the first time without you.

Try to make the most of the alone time that you have without your children. It can be difficult to adjust to at first, but fill your time doing something for yourself or something that you wouldn’t usually be able to do.

Communicate with your children, but allow them to enjoy quality time with their other parent as it is important to be supportive of positive relationships.

Struggling to Agree on Summer Holiday Plans

If you find yourself unable to reach agreement on a fair plan for the summer holidays, or you are facing issues with communication, child contract or going away with your children, then you may wish to seek legal advice on the best way forward.

Our Solicitors at Bell Lamb & Joynson are approachable, compassionate and experienced in a range of legal matters involving divorce, separation and children.

To speak to someone, contact us on 03444 124348, email or speak to our online chat assistant (who is a real person, not a robot).

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