Holiday Planning: Summer Vacations After Separation

Early planning, clear communication and flexibility are key to successful holiday sharing.

Planning summer holidays with your children should be more exciting than stressful.  In this post, Kayla Sanger, a University of Ottawa law student and Fresh Legal summer intern, shares some things to keep in mind to ensure your summer holiday plans after divorce go off without a hitch.  Whether you already have an existing parenting schedule or are in the process of negotiating one, the tips in this post will be helpful to keep in mind.

Start planning early:

Early and thorough planning is the key to any successful vacation.  Begin by reviewing your family’s existing commitments.  Perhaps your children are attending day programs, summer camp or special visits with friends and family.  Mapping out everyone’s commitments in advance helps to reduce any scheduling conflicts down the road.  Keeping a shared calendar that both parents can access can prove to be a helpful tool to stay organized and facilitate ongoing communication with your co-parent. 

Use clear communication:

If you have a parenting schedule, it will likely outline how summer holidays will be shared.  From time to time, you may wish to make some changes to the existing schedule to accommodate for special events or to spend longer periods of time with your child.  Communicate your ideas as soon as possible with your co-parent.  Clearly outline what changes you are proposing and allow your co-parent time to consider.  Conversations should be positive, respectful and focused on your child.  

Stay flexible:  

Summers may look a little different now that you share time spent with your child.  It is helpful to focus on the positives, such as appreciating the time you have together, rather than time spent apart.  Successful co-parenting means being practical, realistic and as flexible as possible.  From time to time, circumstances may require that activities or visits be rescheduled.  Working together to accommodate for these changes ensures that your child is exposed to less conflict and can relax and enjoy their time spent with each parent.