Divorce is an ordeal for everyone involved. In the divorce process (and for a period of time after), ex-spouses generally go through a wave of different emotions associated with grief. It stands to reason and the same goes for their children.
Once the divorce process is finalized, kids have to adjust to new routines, whatever they may be. Taking a vacation can be a nice way to give everyone a break from these routines so that they can refresh their minds, bodies and souls. If you’re planning to travel with your kids post-divorce, here are some things to keep in mind.
Create a new experience
Nostalgia can run deep, both for you and for your kids. You may have happy memories of vacations at certain destinations as a family, and you might want to replicate that to give your kids a sense of normalcy. This may work well, or it also may backfire, as those happy memories might become tinged with bitterness because your spouse would be missing.
For that reason, it may be a better idea to find a new place to visit and explore with your kids. Create new memories together. Asking for input from your kids about a new place they want to go might get them excited about it.
Keep in mind, if your divorce was recent, your kids still might be processing their emotions, and may not be happy with any destination you choose. They may be defiant and choose to be unhappy. As difficult as it may be for you to deal with, it’s best to acknowledge what they’re feeling and let them be. Having your kids see a counselor who specializes in child development may be helpful if their negative behavior persists.
Set yourself up for minimal stress
Vacations with kids can often be stressful on you, and now that you’re a single parent, you’ve got a lot more responsibility. That can be even more stressful, so pick a vacation that has the least amount of hassle that also complies with your parenting agreement. You can set a relaxing mood for your kids to feed off of (hopefully they’re open to it) by planning ahead and keeping things simple. Simple can be tons of fun!
Encourage contact with your co-parent
Kids can experience separation anxiety after a divorce, so it’s healthy to encourage your kids to contact their other parent on a regular basis – daily is great. Set up a routine where your kids call or video chat with their mom or dad at the same time every day. This sends your kids the message that you and your ex both care about them and about them having a good relationship with your co-parent.
No matter where you go or what you decide to do during your vacation, be mindful that your kids are incredibly perceptive. If you’re still processing negative emotions and feelings post-divorce, that’s okay – it will take a long time to come to terms with it. As long as you remain present with your kids and create a positive, grounded environment for them, chances are you’ll all have great time making new memories.