The Christmas holidays are fast approaching and for those parents who live separately, this can be an anxious time sorting out a schedule of contact for the children.
Many separated families have a structure where one parent is the main carer and the other spends their time with children at weekends and holidays. Holiday arrangements can produce a considerable amount of stress for both adults and children. This stress can be minimised though by some careful planning and by putting the children’s needs at the centre of everything – as they should be. Here are some useful tips which may help towards this:
- Talk to the other parent
Whenever possible, set aside time to discuss plans with the other parent in good time rather than leaving it to the last minute.
- Plan ahead
Think through how you would like to spend time with your children. Consider making a calendar in advance to show them how time will be split between households.
- Talk to your children
Instead of just informing children about the holiday plans, consider talking with them about how they would like to spend time with you this Christmas. Listen to their ideas, discuss what is possible and then do your best to incorporate some of their suggestions.
- Don’t over do it!
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to pack every moment of your time together with fun-filled, exciting activities. This is usually overwhelming to children and will wear them out quickly, leaving you with very tired, grumpy kids.
- Support your children’s relationship with the other parent
Convey a positive attitude about your child spending time with the other parent. Also when travelling, provide the other parent with contact information and details regarding your trip with the children. It is not a competition between parents so communicating with each other about special gifts can reduce the potential for one-upmanship.
- Help children maintain consistent contact with the other parent
Some children may struggle with missing the parent they are not with during longer periods of time. Children can maintain consistent contact with the absent parent by way of regular telephone calls, emails or via a webcam.
By adopting these simple suggestions everyone’s holiday time together can be less stressful and more fun. So plan ahead and have a wonderful Christmas.
Woolley & Co, Solicitors