With the summer holidays looming, parents are planning how they’ll keep the kids occupied and happy for the long weeks ahead. With many still having to work for much of the school holidays, it can be a challenge to coordinate care arrangements and plan time away
For separated parents, there can be even more planning involved. Summer holidays often mean a disruption to normal parenting agreements. Changeovers may not happen at the same location or time, there may be more time spent with one parent to accommodate time off work, along with planning for time away.
Organising how your children will spend the school holiday period across both households can be stressful, especially if arrangements haven’t been made in advance. This stress can permeate into your daily mood, affecting what should otherwise be a carefree and happy time with your kids.
But if you and the other parent can communicate effectively and put the needs of your children first, then you can all enjoy a blissful summer and create memories to last well into the new year.
Set out your dates and times for changeover clearly
For school-aged kids, changeover often occurs before/after school on regular days. During the holidays, when kids aren’t at school, then changes to this arrangement will need to be made. Avoid making assumptions about what these arrangements will be, and instead ensure that you negotiate with the other parent about when changeovers will occur, where they’ll happen (if your regular location isn’t appropriate), and who will do the dropping off and picking up.
If you’ve agreed to alter your regular parenting arrangements to accommodate holidays and special events, put it in writing to ensure you’re both clear on the details. And communicate to your kids, if appropriate, so they’re not in the dark on what’s happening and can plan outings with their friends accordingly.
Put the interests of your children first
Remember that over the school holidays, kids will also want to spend time with their friends, go on outings and have sleepovers. Communicating with your children about the care arrangements will help kids plan and avoids confusion about where they’re meant to be spending time.
Focus on creating memories for your children
Many of us have fond memories of our own summer holidays. Perhaps that’s eating ice cream while it drips down our hands, running across the burning hot sand to reach the water, or nights spent camping in the backyard.
While you may not be able to spend the whole holidays with your kids, you can still use the time you spend with them to create fun and lasting memories.
A lawyer can help make arrangements easier for next time
Generally, holiday planning goes relatively smoothly as long as both parents are open to communication and can be a little bit flexible. But if you’ve had difficulties making arrangements, or the other parent doesn’t comply with Parenting Orders in place, you may want to make an appointment to discuss things with your family lawyer in the New Year. A lawyer can help you negotiate a parenting plan, or create new Parenting Orders that clearly set out holiday care arrangements, along with other parenting matters.
Of course, in urgent circumstances, where you have fears for your safety, or your children’s wellbeing, you may need to contact the police.
DDCS Lawyers can help you navigate all aspects of your parenting arrangements. Our expert team can provide you with specialist advice for your circumstances. Call our team on (02) 6212 7600 to make an appointment.