Vacations After Divorce: 3 Tips for Sharing Memories with Your Co-Parent
Whether planning the next big spring break adventure or a simple weekend retreat, the many legal considerations that affect traveling with kids after a divorce can overwhelm co-parents. Stocking-up on essential entertainment for long flights, packing outfits that won’t cause your toddler to meltdown, all while keeping track of every detail in an itinerary can be exhausting. But at the end of the day, creating lifelong memories with your children during these adventures more than makes up for the stress endured.
However, post-divorce vacations can be an endless source of tension between co-parents. Some of the strongest childhood memories are made during family vacations, whether they’re extravagant or simple. So when trips can no longer include the entire family, the non-traveling parent may feel that they’re missing out on important moments.
Staying connected with children while not being physically present is one of the biggest challenges for co-parents, vacations contributing in no small part. Here are 3 tips for bridging the gap between non-traveling parents and kids while on vacation.
Keep Children in Communication with Both Parents
Co-parents are not the only parties left hurting when important moments cannot be shared with the entire family. Kids, too, may mourn a parent’s absence during a vacation and may long to share their experiences with their mom or dad back home. Being encouraged to contact their other parent while on vacation can be a great balm for this turmoil.
Try going beyond simply allowing your child to contact their other parent while traveling. Encouraging children to stay in contact and share daily highlights with their other parent can help reinforce the message that your family circle remains unbroken, even after a separation.
Document Important Moments to Share Later
Children cannot be solely relied upon to share important moments from vacation. They may be too enthralled with different activities to anticipate wanting to share those moments with their other parent later. They may also be too concerned with one parent’s feelings, despite any encouragement, to voice their desires to do so.
Whatever the underlying reason, it’ll be up to the vacationing parent to capture important moments from the trip. Taking pictures or videos during vacation will be an easy task that most parents will do regardless, but consider going even further. Jot down quick notes about funny or sweet moments on your phone. Or keep an informal travelogue to record daily highlights. Parents can even ask their children a set of questions about each day and record their responses. Here are 3 suggestions to get you started:
- What was the best thing about today?
- Did you learn anything new?
- What are you looking forward to most tomorrow?
There are also many fantastic apps to help you chronicle your travels, so be sure to check out this list compiled by Travel + Leisure. Not only will these records be precious to the parent unable to be present, they will also solidify your own memories of the vacation and be a wonderful keepsake to return to in the future.
Reciprocation Appreciated, Not Required
Co-parenting relationships are not always perfect and some parents may commit to additional efforts like these while others may not. It’s hard going above and beyond with your co-parenting communication when it feels one-sided. One important thing to remember is that these additional efforts never just benefit your co-parent. Children are the ultimate beneficiaries of any steps taken to strengthen family ties.
With Spring Break fast approaching in the United States, upcoming vacation plans are already in the works for many parents. During these trips, your co-parent may be the farthest thing from your mind, but that’s most likely not the case for your children. Strengthen your family’s foundation by making the effort to share important moments from vacations and trips.