Planning for spring break

Daughter walking down beach with mother

The week of spring break is often a busy one for a family.  Whether you plan to go on a family vacation or stay home with a full house, there is lots of planning that must be done by parents in order to coordinate the family’s schedule with this week.  Planning for spring break can feel twice as complex when your children’s time is split between two homes.  Unfortunately, many times parents wait until the last minute to organize these plans, which can put a real damper on the holiday if your intended vacation is interrupted by issues surrounding custody.   By specifying vacations in your parenting plan, managing the week’s custody agreement ahead of time, and getting it in writing, planning for spring break can be less of a hassle and more easily handled. 

Vacation planning may not be a primary item that parents focus on when formulating a parenting plan, but the guidelines that are laid out there can become crucial when planning for spring break.  For example, does your parenting plan state that for school vacation weeks, one parent will get the kids after school is released on Friday, or will it be the following Monday when the school holiday actually begins?  Also, does your parenting plan specify spring break as a holiday, or is it seen as a regular parenting week?  These seemingly small details can throw a huge wrench into a family’s plans for the week.  Spring break happens annually for your kids in school, so do not overlook these details when formulating your plan. 

Preparing well ahead of time for spring break planning is important not just for parents but for the kids as well.  Parents should have discussions months ahead of time to decide who will have custody over the upcoming spring break week.   It may even be better for parents to map out spring break custody a couple of years ahead of time in order to avoid conflict down the line.  Planning for spring break well ahead of time is also significant in terms of your children’s best interests.  The closer time gets to the actual week, the more they may be asking and thinking about what they would like to do during that time.  Creating a sense of stability for your kids is essential to their overall well being.  Kids want to be able to predict where they will be over that week instead of being forced one way or the other in the eleventh hour.  If parents can cooperate, draft, and finalize these plans early, it’s likely that stress will be relieved for the whole family. 

Once you have come to an agreement over spring break custody, you’ll want to finalize your plans by writing it down.  Having a hard document that lays out your agreement for that week is important on a few levels.  First, it will help both you and your co-parent remember exactly what you have agreed upon for that specific week, so you won’t need to rack your brain to recall that vital information.  Second, it will help in avoiding disagreements or larger issues as the week approaches.   If one parent begins to instigate conflict over the custody agreement for spring break, the other may refer to the document to put a quick end to the issue.   While conflicts may arise, so may emergencies that could potentially hinder one parent’s ability to take custody over that week.  If this occurs, try and work together to find a solution that will be your children’s best interests.  If you have concerns that this could be the case, perhaps it will be best to include something in your written agreement about spring break to cover emergency situations.

Verbally planning for spring break is simple, but documenting your plans is made easy with the tools available on the OurFamilyWizard Calendar.  Parents can map out their spring break custody plans years ahead of time by customizing their family’s holiday schedule.  Your arrangement for this holiday week could potentially interfere with your regular parenting schedule, so the holiday tool will modify your normal custody schedule only on the specific days you need adjusted without messing up your calendar’s regular schedule.  Also, parents can use the OurFamilyWizard Message Board to discuss spring break plans and have those conversations documented and stored in a secure place where they cannot be lost or edited.  With the right scheduling tools at your fingertips, planning for spring break can be something for the whole family to look forward to.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.