Summer lovin’ or summer stress?
For many of us, it’s hard to picture summers conjuring up anything other than memories of long sunny days, fun-packed family activities, relaxing afternoons and picnics in the park – the cheerful sound of your children’s mirth providing the auditory background to each scenario.
But if you’re divorced or separated, the process of handling the summer timetabling and figuring out the parenting arrangements with your ex may, for some families, generate a fresh new source of anxiety, stress and disagreement. Mediation in Cheltenham
Sunny D or Bitter Lemon?
Furthermore, when parents are unable to arrange a plan or are wrestling out future modifications, children might get exposed to conflict and division – the net consequence of which can be a frightened and disturbed youngster, with their memories of summer tarnished.
So, how to avoid this?
Our guide to pleasant holidays
We’ve put up a brief guide below that provides you some practical ideas to both designing a summer timetable that everyone is satisfied with and ensuring you can enjoy the vacation break too.
Your major mantra: Children First
It might be tremendously tough to put your personal sentiments to one side but most children appreciate quality, meaningful time with BOTH parents and it’s crucial that they get this. Always ask yourself ‘have I considered my child first and foremost?’, ‘is this what they would want?’, ‘will they be happy?’
Be adaptable from the offset
Following on from No. 1, attempt to be reasonable and fair in accommodating requests as well as making your own requests. It’s always a process of give and take. Consider whether distance plays a factor in contact throughout the school year – if one parent lives far away, the summer holidays might provide a chance for children to spend valuable time with that parent and their extended family (grandparents, cousins…etc.). When organising this time, it’s worth taking in mind the age of the children and their emotional tolerance for being away from the parent who provides the primary care throughout the school year. Mediation Cheltenham
Recognise that ‘change’ happens
Plans may have to alter both in the short-term (maybe due to job, family or health concerns) and long-term (people re-marry and/or relocate, children’s hobbies change…etc.), all of which might have an influence on making plans. Acknowledging that ‘change’ can and will come at some time can enhance your general outlook as well as your capacity to be flexible and deal with such changes when they arise.
Remember that youngsters worry (even if they don’t tell you)
Even throw-away or apparently benign statements such as ‘mum is being so difficult’ or ‘dad is making preparing for summer impossible’ can anger, worry and stress youngsters. Try to keep unpleasant sentiments, frustrations and responses to yourself. If anything serious demands conversation with your ex, do it when you are calmer and without your children there.
Allow plenty of time to prepare the summer itinerary. This would assist avoid any holiday clashes, manage different work timelines and handle any court order variations with appropriate notice. Advance preparation will considerably lessen any time-related tension and strain that might be connected with making a timetable.
Allow older children and teens to have a say in the planning
Once you and your ex have been able to negotiate a plan of where the children would spend their time, encourage the children to express suggestions for what they might want to do, or even give them a variety of options to pick from so they still have a say. This might be particularly beneficial for older children who typically look forward to time with friends over summer. Mediation Cheltenham
Let your youngster realise you are enthused about ALL their summer plans
Be excited for all the plans your child has throughout the summer vacations, particularly ones that have been organised by your ex and exclude you. Remember to let your children know you are glad for them and all the experiences they will have.
Keep occupied, develop your own plans
If may be really tough over the holidays when your children aren’t with you, particularly if you’re the primary caretaker and the house might suddenly seem quiet and empty. Indulge it as a chance to arrange things you seldom get to do with the kids around — have fun, try something new, treat yourself, rest and recharge.