When you’re co-parenting with an ex, there are particular hotspots that can trigger conflict.
One of those hotspots is the school holidays.
Holidays are a time when some of our most precious memories are made. Because of that, the idea of not spending them with your children can be really tough.
At The Co-Parent Way, we encourage parents to plan out the holidays a year in advance, so that everyone knows what they’re doing. Last minute planning and dividing up your children’s time is stressful and unnecessary, especially if you’ve been co-parenting for a while.
Here are five co-parenting tips to help you navigate school holidays.
Work out how many days’ holiday your children have and divide it up in a way that works for you both. That could mean you have the same number of days each, or that one of you takes February, May, October half terms, and the other takes Easter. Then you split the summer holidays and Christmas. However you do it, make it fair. If it’s genuinely fair, you’ll reduce the risk of arguments and your kids will feel that they have access to you both.
Decide the holidays as early as possible. If you’re able to decide what’s happening a year in advance, then you’re prepared. You can plan your holidays and save money on advance tickets. It also means that your children know exactly where they are going to be and when. They’ll feel more stable and secure, knowing that you, as their parents, are in control.
Being apart from your children during holidays can be really triggering. You know special memories are going to be made in the other house.
But, let’s flip that on its head. By making arrangements in advance, you can plan how you’re going to fill the time you have apart. . Catching up with friends. Getting on with a personal project. Making sure you have fulfilling and meaningful time without your children is crucial for building and maintaining your own resilience.
Have some flexibility. Sometimes you’ll have a significant event in the holidays and sometimes your ex will. No doubt you’ll both want your children to be with you at these times. Acknowledge that you’ll both try wherever possible to make that happen.
If things are tricky between you and your ex and you’re worried about not having any contact with your children whilst they are away, agree in advance how often you can video call them. Just seeing their faces (and them seeing yours) can be transformative.
And offer it as an option in return. If they’re young then every other day for five minutes can be enough to keep you feeling connected to them, but not so much for your ex to feel intruded upon.
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