Calling all co-parents - these 5 tips from a relationship expert can help you navigate your first half-term without any fallouts

And we think everyone can learn something from the advice...

A man lying on a sofa reading to a young boy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We asked a relationship expert to share her top tips for coping with half-term as co-parents. Here's what she had to say...

Co-parenting can be tough at the best of times - working out who has the kids when and trying to keep things civil for the children's sake are tasks added on to the already mammoth job of bringing up a human being. Here on GoodtoKnow, we've broken down the co-parenting tips to live by as well as co-parenting tips for divorced parents, but when the kids are off school and you and your fellow co-parent have conflicting work schedules to deal with too, you might find that the normal rules have gone out of the window.

For those navigating this dynamic for the first time, we've spoken to Kate Daly, relationship counsellor and co-founder of amicable. amicable is an online legal service that was brought to life after Kate's own divorce, to help couples avoid the emotional and financial turmoil that can come with ending a relationship.

If you and your partner have recently separated, navigating your first half-term or school holiday as a co-parent can be daunting. Here, Kate offers her top five tips to bear in mind when going through the process for the first time.

5 tips for coping with your first half-term as co-parents

1. Have a plan

Kate tells us, "Working with your ex-partner to create a well thought out plan is crucial for every aspect of co-parenting. It won’t work to simply decide on the day who has the children, this needs to be planned in advance."

She advises documenting the arrangements in a ‘Parenting Plan’. amicable’s parenting plan e-book and co-parenting app are designed to help couples navigate the journey of co-parenting.

2. Practice compassion and self care

Practice compassion for yourself, your co-parent, and your children, and recognise that navigating half-term as a co-parent may come with its challenges. Be understanding of everyone's emotions and needs during this time.

Kate says, "It’s also important to prioritise self-care to ensure you are physically and emotionally equipped to be the best parent you can be at all times, especially during the school holidays. Use the time when you don’t have the kids to focus on your own wellbeing."

A woman reading in the bath with a glass of wine

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Don't be afraid to accept help

If you are finding it difficult to juggle work and childcare during the holidays, take advantage of playdates with your children’s friends or cousins, Kate advises. Or, if extended family members are available, consider involving them in half-term plans.

Grandparents, aunts, and uncles can also contribute to creating a support network for you and your children. This provides your kids with social interaction and a chance to have fun with their peers. 

4. Get out and about

"It’s important to spend quality time with your children and continue creating memories for them, particularly after this difficult time," Kate tells us. "Explore budget-friendly activities in your area to keep the kids entertained - whether it's a visit to a local park, a nature walk, or a trip to a gallery, getting out of the house can help everyone get through this change in circumstances." Check out our guide on things to do with kids for inspiration.

But bear in mind, this advice works for both yourself and your kids. Kate says, "If your kids are with other parents over the half-term, try and see the positive side - you can use the time to do something you wouldn’t normally do. Try a new activity or explore a new area, arrange to see friends or family you haven’t seen in a while and take advantage of some grown-up time."

5. Communication is key

Parents will know that effective communication is so important, and this is still the case when co-parenting. "Where there are young children involved, it’s important to continue communicating with their other parent," Kate says. "Parents will never stop worrying about their children, so try to be considerate about what your ex-partner should know about their child’s whereabouts. For example, ensure you tell them if your plans change, if they will be travelling anywhere far, or meeting new people."

She adds, "Speak to each other about the best way to communicate and set boundaries for doing so."

In other news, one mum revealed to us what she's learned from co-parenting, and a psychologist reveals three tips on how to navigate parenting with a new partner.

Kate Daly
Kate Daly

Kate Daly has spoken passionately in the media about changing the narrative around divorce and has featured on the One Show, across the BBC, Women’s Hour and ITV News. She co-founded amicable with CEO Pip Wilson, following on from her own ‘trainwreck’ divorce, where she spent thousands in legal fees which spanned over several years. In 2019 Kate successfully challenged the legal status quo preventing couples from working together on their divorces and won the endorsement of the High Court for amicable’s services. Kate also hosts The Divorce Podcast, where she explores divorce, separation and co-parenting with a variety of experts and celebrity guests. Since starting amicable she has collaborated with the MOJ and HMCTS on improving their understanding of consumer behaviour, and the digitisation of divorce, separation and co-parenting services.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.