Many parents fall into 1 or 2 ‘camps’ – those who hate the school holidays and begin to dread them from the very end of the last one and those who love them and dread their little cherubs heading off to the new school term!
6 weeks of childcare to juggle! Add in the stress of co-parenting with an ex- partner and then no wonder this can be a stressful time. Not to mention the added expense of extra meals and activities to prevent the inevitable ‘I’m bored’ phrase being overly used and that’s just week 1! Hopefully, your ex-partner was able to help with extra overnight stays and days out.
Have you loved having the children with you every day? Relaxed mornings with no pressure to be organised and structured? You may be considering how much or little time your ex-partner has spent with the children and whether there’s any changes needed which may impact the time spent with each parent as the new term is looming.
Whichever you are (or something in between!), hopefully, you have survived, are organised and have new uniforms and lunchboxes at the ready. But have your pre-summer child-care arrangements survived too? Your arrangements over the summer may have looked a little different to when the children are at school and you’re now wondering how to make the shift back to normality? Try our top tips for a smooth transition!
- Make sure you’re on the same page: Before school starts again, it is a good idea to discuss with your ex-partner your current situation and childcare arrangements now the summer is over. Yours or your ex’s situation may have changed, which means going back to a pre-summer agreement may not be suitable or may need a bit of tweaking. Communication is the main step to creating a positive environment.
- Create a structured agreement: Being able to stick to a routine and having consistency can be key for a child’s well-being. A fair and organised plan of childcare arrangements can help everyone plan their lives a bit better, whilst creating a healthy routine for your children. With that said…
- Be flexible: Life isn’t straightforward. Cancellations, appointments, and emergencies pop up, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do about it. By being empathetic and understanding, your ex-partner will appreciate the flexibility and should extend the courtesy. If it’s becoming a regular occurrence, you might need to talk to your ex about the agreed arrangements and some changes may need to be made. Learn more here about how mediation can help.
- Share the Responsibilities: It seems obvious, but it's important to make sure that both parents are contributing, and this is especially true during term time. This can be financial, but most importantly effort. You could make sure to help with the maths homework, attend parents' evenings or help to buy new school supplies, for example.
- Every agreement should be child focused: You and your ex want nothing but the best for your children, so making a plan that focuses on them is the key to everyone's happiness. Make sure you know your child’s wants, needs and routines, so you can fit your childcare agreements around them.
How Mediation can Help
Even with the best intentions, we know that organising childcare arrangements with a co-parent can often be tricky. Perhaps, your ex-partner is less than willing to talk to you about any changes you need to make? Mediation can help! With our help, you can have the opportunity to talk things through, and have your voice heard. With legal aid and the Ministry of Justice’s Mediation Voucher Scheme, there’s every chance you can access mediation sessions for free! This can save and lot of time and money compared to the cost and delays incurred by going to court!