School holidays can be stressful even in the best of circumstances, from entertaining kids to sorting out how you get together with all your family and friends; There is so much to plan for. But the thought of all the extra stress with navigating the school holidays after divorce will make you want to avoid them altogether. First of all, you are more likely to adapt to the reality of your new holiday as well as feel the feelings of you and the kids. Then, there is the logistics of who goes where, when and how. Before flying the white flag of surrender, take a breath and then check out our tips for dealing better with the school holidays after divorce.
- Get organized – Start by reuniting with your ex (by phone, video chat, or, if you are in good enough condition, personally) and get school holidays as early as possible on both your calendars. Ideally, you already have a co-parenting plan and can easily see which parent is on vacation. In a perfect world, you can each accommodate the holidays in your period and they are the most important to you. In fact, we know it probably won’t be the thing that leads us …
- Compromise plan – You may have to switch to vacation due to work or you may need to take time off with your ex for a holiday that falls with you for the kids. Whatever the case, the children deserve the efforts of both parents to ensure that the school holidays are special to them. Also, being open to compromise (which is different than being a pushover) is a lot easier than fighting through every holiday, isn’t it? And, if your kids are old enough, consider involving them in decision making because the feeling of listening and a little bit of control will also reduce their stress a bit!
- Adjust expectations for school holidays after divorce – For yourself and your kids. While everyone will feel the loss that the school holidays won’t be exactly the same (and that’s okay), the new reality doesn’t have to be negative. Communicate plans ahead of time so that what can be expected becomes clear when focusing on the positives that can come with new opportunities. Don’t forget to emphasize with the kids that they are still very much liked by both of you and they should never feel guilty for their vacation time with their parents or others.
- Create new traditions – If Dad always cuts turkey at Family Thanksgiving, maybe your son can take the honor now. If you don’t have Christmas morning with the kids, maybe you can take the afternoon to volunteer back with them. If, instead of counting down the night before, you’re spending New Year’s Day together, make it special by first choosing what you want to try. The point is, school holidays are not necessarily the same as being special. You can love the new tradition just as much!
- Consider this a work in progress – There’s a lot of unnecessary pressure to make the holidays ‘perfect’ and you’re probably feeling it even more if it’s the first time after a divorce. But that mentality will not help at all, whether divorced, married or unmarried is not achievable. Rather, consider these school holidays as a progressive endeavor, allowing yourself to communicate honestly about what you have done with your ex and your kids and what will make them better in the future. After all, the most important thing is to have fun, create memories and spend quality time together, but it works for your family!
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