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Helping your kids stay connected to your co-parent on vacation

Many families take their first post-divorce vacations over their kids' winter break. If your children are going away with your co-parent, if you're taking them on vacation to visit family or if you're taking them to enjoy some skiing up north or other adventure, it's essential to help your kids stay connected with their other parent while they're away.

This is all new for them, too. They're used to vacationing with both parents. They'll naturally want to share their adventures with the nontraveling parent. Both parents need to play a role in helping their kids stay connected to the parent who's not along for the trip. The parent they're traveling with, however, generally has the greater responsibility.

Help your kids document special moments via photos and videos. If your kids are young, you may want to make a few notes of things they can share with your co-parent when they next talk or video chat. If you and your co-parent are on good terms, you can share some special moments as well. Maybe one of the kids skied on an advanced slope for the first time or hiked farther than they ever had before. There are plenty of travel apps and journals to help kids of all ages chronicle their trips.

If you're the one staying home or perhaps vacationing on your own, encourage your kids to share their vacation highlights with you. If they're concerned that talking about their vacation will make you sad or angry, they're less likely to do it. Ask questions and tell them you want to see pictures, videos and souvenirs.

What if you encourage your kids to keep in touch with your co-parent while they're with you, but your ex doesn't do the same? Don't worry about it. You're doing what's best for your kids. Eventually, your co-parent will likely come around -- or your kids will encourage them to.

Has this year's winter break exposed holes in your custody and visitation agreement or are there serious issues that you and your co-parent can't resolve on your own? If so, it may be wise to talk with your attorney after the holidays (and before spring break rolls around) about steps you can take to make vacations easier on everyone -- particularly your kids.

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