Juggling family responsibilities is a challenge, and when parents live separately, this challenge can be intensified, especially during school breaks. Winter holidays, spring vacations and the long stretch of summer all come with the prospect of fun for the children, but it’s also a time when parents may find their parent time schedule to be particularly challenging.
Co-parents must be able to work out a plan for these times when their children aren’t in school. Being proactive can help each side of a child’s family to better manage the challenges of these periods of time.
Looking at the schedule
The key to managing school breaks effectively is early planning. Co-parents should sit down well in advance to discuss and decide on the specifics of who will have the children on which days. Doing so allows ample time to address any potential issues or concerns, allowing both parents to make the necessary arrangements without last-minute stress. This early planning can also give children a sense of security. When they know what to expect and where they’ll be, it can make the transition between homes smoother and less anxiety-inducing.
Balancing time and prioritizing fairness
Co-parents must find a balance in sharing time during school breaks. This doesn’t necessarily mean splitting the time down the middle. It means finding a schedule that works best for the children and both parents. Some families might alternate weeks during summer breaks, while others might decide on specific days or weekends. During shorter breaks, like winter holidays, co-parents might alternate years. For instance, one parent might have the children for Christmas this year, while the other has them for New Year’s. Next year, they switch holidays with the children.
Embracing flexibility and communication
It’s crucial for co-parents to maintain open lines of communication and be flexible. Plans and schedules might need adjusting due to unforeseen circumstances. Understanding and adaptability can go a long way in ensuring that school breaks are enjoyable for their children.
One of the best ways to ensure the breaks are handled as intended is to have the terms of how they’ll be managed formalized in one’s parenting plan. This document should clearly outline how school breaks will be divided. If the plan needs to remain fluid, it should at least note how the division of parenting time will be determined for each school break. Parenting plans can also include pick-up times, drop-off locations and any other relevant details to ensure that both parents are on the same page and operating at a lower stress level as a result.