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Help your kids share vacation memories with your co-parent

As spring break nears, newly-separated or divorced parents who are turning their kids over to their co-parent for a vacation are likely to feel pangs of sadness that they'll no longer be part of all of their kids' family vacations. The kids will now be making some vacation memories with their other parent -- whether it's a short trip up to Lake Havasu or a vacation to Cancun.

Remember that not being able to spend family vacations with both parents is likely difficult for your kids as well. That's why it's important for co-parents to encourage their kids to keep in touch with the parent who's not along for the trip and to find ways to share their adventures with that parent.

No matter how you feel about your ex, when you take the kids on a trip, whether it's a long weekend at the Grand Canyon or a month in Europe over the summer, encourage them to communicate via phone, text, email, Skype or whatever means they prefer. If they're younger, help them remember highlights of their day so they can tell their other parent. Encourage them to share photos and videos.

There are travel journals and apps designed specifically for kids of all ages that can help them organize their memories. This is a great way not just to share the vacation with their other parent, but to have a keepsake for themselves.

The parent at home shouldn't intrude on the kids' vacation by constantly calling or texting them. Don't make them feel guilty for having fun without you or tell them how lonely you are. Let them know how much you want to hear about what they're doing, even if it involves your ex's new significant other.

What if you encourage this sharing when you vacation with the kids, and then when they go away with your co-parent, he or she doesn't reciprocate? That shouldn't change your behavior. Remember that you're doing what's best for them. Eventually, they'll probably want to share with you when they're with their other parent, whether that parent encourages it or not.

If you believe your ex is keeping your kids from contacting you at all and you can't resolve the issue, you may want to consider adding some details to your parenting plan about vacation communications. Your Arizona family law attorney can advise you on how to seek these changes.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Vacations After Divorce: 3 Tips for Sharing Memories with Your Co-Parent," accessed March 07, 2018

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