Children benefit from extended uninterrupted vacation time with each parent consistent with their abilities to handle separation from either parent. The length of time for each vacation period is dependent upon the age and temperament of the children, the geographic location of the vacation, the extent of shared parenting, and the availability of the parents.
Once overnights away from the home base have been successfully established, longer vacation time may be implemented. Vacation time for children less than eighteen months should be consistent with the child’s ability to tolerate extended separations from either parent. Initially, infant vacation time should not exceed three consecutive overnights with either parent. As a child matures, both parents should have the same opportunities to vacation with their child. Many parents provide for two uninterrupted vacation weeks for children at about six years of age, increasing to four weeks by age ten. Whether or not these weeks are consecutive depends upon the circumstances of the family.
- To avoid undue stress on the child, parents should plan down time for their child after travel and before they return to school.
- In planning vacations, parents should not take their children out of school except in special circumstances and when both parents agree.
- Plans for vacations, holidays or other special occasions should be agreed to as early as possible to avoid last-minute conflict. Parents should establish specific dates for advance notification of summer vacation choices.
- Consideration should be given to the relationship between vacation, holiday and regularly scheduled time. Is a two week vacation intended to be fourteen days? If a two week vacation involves two weekends, should an alternating weekend plan begin with the non-vacationing parent on the following weekend to avoid three or more back to back weekends with either parent?
- Parents should not plan a vacation to conflict with the other parent’s scheduled holiday (i.e. July 4 or Labor Day) unless they agree.
- The vacationing parent should provide the other parent with full contact information prior to leaving home.
- Arrangements should be made for reasonable telephone contact between the child and the non-vacationing parent, particularly with younger children.