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Published: 20 January 2017
Author: Julie Earl
Whether you are following court orders or parenting plans, summer holidays and the new school year can throw out the regular care arrangements for your children.
Here are some handy tips on how to to plan ahead to avoid unnecessary clashes with your former partner.
Prepare a calendar of the year ahead where each parent, grandparents or any other proposed carer is expected to have the children. (Apps are handy for helping you do this, two are listed below.) The calendar can always be varied but goes a long way to avoiding confusion particularly in families where communication is a problem.
If a yearly calendar is too difficult, look at doing one per term (including a school term holiday period).
A month to month page is handy and you can highlight contact arrangements: perhaps a proposed holiday or when the children will see extended family or have major events on, which see one parents’ contact temporarily suspended.
State clearly when the alternate weekend arrangement is to start again, if it’s fortnightly.
Think about the birthdays and major events that may affect your child this year. It could be the first day of school, a birthday or a Communion or Confirmation or perhaps an extended school camp. Plan ahead so that your children don’t face anxiety about possible parental conflict or worse still, are confronted with the conflict at the event.
Which partner your child is with at the end of the holidays can cause confusion when it comes to who organises the uniforms, shoes, or books and stationary for the new school year. Outline your proposals for who pays what in advance to help prevent arguments.
Extra curricular activities are another potential source of dispute. When are training, matches or competitions scheduled? If your child has moved up an age group it may affect any alternative extracurricular activity. Discuss who will pay any fees as soon as possible.
Many Apps now available to help families in separate households. These Apps allow the entire family – parents and children – to access a common calendar, notice board or photo board and other important information. Some popular shared parenting Apps are MyMob and 2houses, both of which are free. But there are many others, although some carry a hefty subscription fee.
So get on the planning front foot this year to avoid parental conflict throughout 2017.
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