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School Holidays As A Single Parent

19 · 9 · 22

The first school break following a separation is always tough on families. Parents are still adapting to a new schedule and getting used to seeing the kids less often. Unfortunately, the holidays only make the experience feel more amplified, which can result in increased emotional distress.

It’s normal for separated parents to want to spend as much time as possible with their children during the school holidays, as it creates a sense of normalcy during such a period of significant change. But for many separated parents, the school holidays mean giving up a special family outing or holiday tradition to reach a fair compromise with their former partner.

Kids are almost always excited about a break from school, and the disappointment of not spending time with their parents together can be especially difficult for everyone.

Here are our top three tips for navigating the school holidays as a single parent:


First, do everything you can to avoid conflict with your ex in front of the kids.



You might find that you and your former spouse want to do the same activity with the kids.

If you and your ex struggle to agree on the best way forward, make it a priority not to discuss the situation in front of your children. Fighting in their presence will make them feel confused or even guilty and ultimately tarnish their holiday experience, regardless of how excited they are. It’s also likely to cause them to feel pain long after the school holidays.

Avoid this by working out a holiday plan with your ex ahead of time and away from the children. If verbal communication is ineffective, try sending your ex an email so you can offer your point of view without being interrupted or potentially losing your temper.

If possible, bring the children together once you’ve reached an agreement and let them know what activities they will be doing with each parent. Assure them how excited you are to spend time with them over the holidays! Letting your kids see that you’re still working together for their benefit will help them to adjust to the new changes in their lives.


Be sure to follow your parenting plan or consent order from the court.



As mentioned above, having a plan is the best way to maintain normalcy for your children while you and your ex navigate your relationship breakdown.

Parenting plans should include arrangements for special occasions like birthdays, religious holidays and school holidays. Be sure to think ahead so that you know how the holidays will be structured ahead of time.

While parenting plans can be flexible, creating a thorough plan and sticking to it is the best way to help your kids adjust to their new routine while staying on good terms with your ex.

If you think you need a more legally binding arrangement, please get in touch with us to discuss your options.


Finally, don’t use the kids to communicate with your ex on your behalf.



It’s common for parents to use their kids to communicate with one another during the holidays as it is a disruptive period with a much more irregular schedule than the standard school year.

Regardless of whether you want to ask your child to pass a question or comment onto your ex out of convenience or because it is still too painful to talk to them, parents need to avoid this behaviour.

When kids become messengers or intermediaries, they become confused about who is in charge, which can encourage lying and manipulation. They could also forget to pass on the message, resulting in unnecessary conflict between you and your ex.

Similarly, if you discuss your frustrations with your kids, they are likely to bring this up with the other parent, even if it wasn’t your intention for them to do so, which creates unnecessary conflict.

If you have an issue with something your spouse has said or done, bring it up with them directly and communicate it to your family lawyer.

Holidays as a single parent are complex, but the right advice and a firm plan will help your family make the most of your situation and enjoy your time together!

Book your consultation with Anderson Family Lawyers today to discuss your parenting plan or consent order.


Anderson Family Lawyers