Sunday, 26 July 2009


The annual summer holiday can put enormous pressures on families. Cloistered together in an unfamiliar environment the vacation in paradise can quickly turn into the holiday from hell. Last week we’d planned to sail around Scotland’s Western Isles. Outdoor Man, however, was quick to recognise that a hostile weather forecast could result in domestic disharmony and an uncomfortable time for all. A quick search using the Internet found us making a scenic detour by air to AndalucĂ­a instead. There we occupied a villa in the hills some 15 minutes from Nerja. Sitting in a mango grove, amidst a Spanish heat wave when temperatures on the Costa del Sol hit 42 degrees; no air conditioning and all the local bug life to contend with; how do you ensure that everyone continues to speak civilly to each other and you return to the UK with family life intact?

Here are my tips:

  1. Keep reminding everyone they could be sailing in rain, wind and mist instead.

  2. Use the pool frequently and preferably bring only one piece of flotation equipment for interest. That way everyone interacts trying to get to it.

  3. Don’t lecture when someone leaves crumbs in the kitchen and the ant armies invade. Just sweep them in a line to the transgressor’s bed and he won’t do it again.

  4. Hire the most underpowered car available that way it takes twice as long to get to the supermarket but on the basis that it has a climate control switch everyone cools down in the process.

  5. If things get really bad, hide the return air tickets and then offer them as rewards for good behaviour.

We had an idyllic week, honestly!

With the school summer holidays upon us however many children whose parents have separated spend longer periods with or away from one or both parents. It can be difficult to think about not seeing children for weeks at a time, and the changes of routine can create stress for your kids too. Here are Resolution’s tips:

  • Talk to the other parent about plans. If you disagree, make the best of things and focus on what is best for your children.

  • Plan ahead. How would you like to spend time with your children and what can you do to prepare them for holidays and special occasions?

  • Instead of informing children about plans, talk with them about how they would like to spend time with you.

  • Build in quality time with low-key activities like visiting the park, reading a book together or playing a game. Too many exciting activities can overwhelm children and tire them out.

  • Support your child’s relationship with your ex.

  • If travelling with the kids, give the other parent contact information and details – you both have a right to know where your children are.

  • Help children maintain consistent contact with the other parent by phone or email. Remember that children may miss their other parent.

  • When your children are with the other parent, use your time to get refreshed. Visit friends, take a class, read a book or enjoy a lazy day.

    For more parental advice from Resolution click here

1 comment:

BluePixo said...

We can learn to accept the existence of ambivalent feelings in ourselves and in our children. To avoid unnecessary conflicts, children need to know that such feelings are normal and natural. We can spare a child much guilt and anxiety by acknowledging and voicing his ambivalent feelings.

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