Dad dot info
Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents | Family | Divorce and separation | Summer Holiday Survival Guide for Separated Families

Summer Holiday Survival Guide for Separated Families



The summer holidays can prove challenging for all families. Juggling childcare, entertaining the kids, and keeping them topped up with endless snacks. The six-week period can prove tough for even the most organised of parents.

For separated couples though it can be particularly hard.

We know many of you come to for advice on that. So we checked in with the charity National Family Mediation (NFM), for their advice for parents who have split. We asked, how can separated families manage schedules? How can we agree on a budget for extra activities? How to put in place ground rules for holidays abroad?

Here are Jane Robey, CEO at NFM’s top tips: ,

Create a Summer Parenting Schedule

Jane says that a parenting schedule is one of the most effective ways of managing expectations.

She said: “Consider using a visual aid like a parenting schedule. This can allow important dates to be flagged at the earliest convenience. Begin by plotting dates important to you and your children’s schedules. Then you can share it with your ex-partner allowing them to do the same.

“Having that agreement in place early on can help to ensure that everyone feels informed and can avoid misunderstandings.”

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

“Make sure you have a clear understanding of summer schedules before making plans with your children,” Jane cautions.

“The summer holidays are an exciting time for children with opportunities for days out and time off school. By talking to your ex you can help avoid difficult situations where plans don’t come to fruition.”

Put your children first

“Thinking about what is best for your children, and helping the children feel safe and secure when creating summer parenting plans, is crucial to avoiding conflict now and in the future,” Jane explains.

“That means allowing them to spend time with your ex or extended family. Where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

“Where negotiations are fraught, remember to make sure to keep your children away from arguments as this conflict will often be picked up by the children.”

Talk To Your Ex

“Even though this can feel like one of the hardest things to do, it is important to try to keep the lines of communication open wherever possible,” Jane says.

“If you find this difficult consider meeting your ex in a neutral environment such as a café, or in a park.

If you are prepared to meet up but worried things might get tense. Try starting the conversation with the things you are in agreement about and work through plans in bite size chunks. That will help to ensure no one becomes overwhelmed by the situation.”

Going Abroad

In the last 18 months National Family Mediation has helped more than 150 couples specifically relating to passport and travel matters.

She said: “For couples in conflict, passports for the children and travel to another country can also be a contentious topic. You might feel nervous about the kids going abroad without you, or with your ex’s new partner. You might not like your ex spending money on a trip away when you feel it should be going towards child support.

Jane suggest, “where possible, talk to your ex about your concerns and try to establish some ground rules that might make the situation easier”. For example, regular video calls, only going for a limited period, or even only travelling to certain countries within the EU.

“Ultimately, you won’t want your children to miss out, so try to find a solution.”

Ask for help

Jane explains that to help families in this situation to settle matters as amicably as possible, the Government has launched a Family Mediation Voucher Scheme which funds up to £500 worth of mediation to discuss children matters using mediation providers such as National Family Mediation (NFM).

She said: “Help is out there, so don’t be afraid to take it.

“The £500 voucher means that mediation is accessible to anyone who wants to tackle their issues in a far more amicable, cost effective and productive way, regardless of financial status.”


NFM is a charity which helps families to sort arrangements for children, property, finance and other important matters following separation and divorce. In addition to the family mediation voucher scheme, Legal Aid also remains available for family mediation.

If you need more support or just somewhere to talk this summer drop in on our forum.

Related entries

Should you stay together for the kids?

Should you stay together for the kids?

It's a terrible situation to be in: stick with an unhappy relationship and sacrifice your happiness, or leave and cause upheaval for your children? It can feel like you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. While there may not be a 'best' answer for these...

No-fault divorce and the impact on parents

No-fault divorce and the impact on parents

We had a chat with Dan Martinez, and amicable Divorce Coach and Dad about the impact of no-fault divorces on parents and children. Here is what he had to say... I am delighted by the change in divorce law. I know what an impact the previous system had on couples if...

Latest entries

Eating together is important- for both you and your kids

Eating together is important- for both you and your kids

As busy parents it can be tempting to shovel our food down Homer Simpson-style, while the kids watch a cartoon. With our daily lives so busy, it can feel like too much effort to sit down to eat together. However, research is coming to light that shows why eating meals...



Hi Dad, What a difficult decision for you. There are several things to consider here before making the final decision. Separating the children could impact the quality of the sibling relationship. This relationship is important and beneficial to the two children....

Prostate problems: what you need to know

Prostate problems: what you need to know

As it's Men's Mental Health Month (Movember) in November, Dad Info is focussing on awareness of men's health issues. As part of this series we are focussing on prostate problems. What is a prostate? The prostate is a small tube found only in men, surrounding the tube...

Pin It on Pinterest