Summer holiday childcare arrangements for separated parents

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The school summer holidays may suit the smaller members of the family but for separated parents they can be a struggle – they don’t have to be.

When the kids break up for several weeks, for some separated parents this can mean an annual revisit of resentment, conflict and heartache.

Child access and child care arrangements during the holidays can be a thorny issue, especially during the long break from normal routines.

But the disruption and difficulty can be minimised, even for recently separated parents, by following a few simple steps.

1. Make a plan early

Children can be sensitive to problems between parents and making them feel at ease will help limit how your issues affect them
An effective way to do this is to ensure children know where they will be and for how long, even if it’s tough to compromise.

Even if the summer holidays don’t involve going away, emphasise the positives of seeing different friends and relations when they are with each parent.


2. Commit to dates

As obvious as this sounds, it can make a huge difference in terms of removing uncertainty and false expectation on all sides.

It’s even worth going through a calendar or planner for extra precision to remove doubt and ambiguity – it’ll be a huge relief when an agreement is made.

Aim to be ‘businesslike’ and fair as possible to reduce tensions – everyone’s number one priority is the happiness and wellbeing of children.

Don’t take the opportunity to address any perceived injustices in access arrangements.


3. Be open with children

It’s normal for the transitional period of separation to be unsettling for many children.

Talking about the idea of staying away can ease this and make them feel happier.

Discuss their likes and dislikes and make sure they can take familiar toys and clothes with them, so everywhere feels a little bit like home.


4. Remain considerate

Compromising with an ex-partner can be difficult but even small, thoughtful concessions can help reduce stress for you and your children.

Exchange details of any travel plans and while you’re away, arrange opportunities for your children to contact their absent parent.

If appropriate, encourage your ex-partner to plan some nice activities for themselves, so they stay happy and occupied.


5. Consider mediation

Even with the best intentions of all parties, it can be a struggle to affirm agreements – in such cases, professional support can help.

Seek a family law specialist, sensitive to the emotional and practical strains of negotiating with a remote or uncommunicative ex over summer plans.


If you’d like to speak to an experienced family law expert, call Nicola Barrow on 01282 433 241 for a free and confidential discussion of your needs.