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Research has shown how important YOU are to your children and how as a dad the things you do, and keep on doing, really count, whether you live with them, or you are a single dad and are only able see them once a month, once a week or more, what you do really matters. This site is dedicated to all dads but will be of special relevance to the single dad. Remember, you are half the reason your children exist and they need you whether you live with them or not. As their dad, you have what it takes to make their lives successful and fulfilling no matter how often you see them. This site is about all the positive things that we as parents have to offer our children.
Make the most of a holiday stay
147 12
Ten great ways you can make the most of the extra time you spend with your children in the holidays

by Chris Barnardo

  Article No. 8
Date posted August 7, 2007  

When the holidays come, millions of separated dads and their kids spend more time together. Itís a time of year that all single dads look forward to, a time to trade the morsel of ďstaying accessĒ for a proper slice of family life. However, spending a whole week together with your children is not simply an extended version of a weekend overnight stay. Here are ten tips that will help you get the most out of this special, extra time you spend with your children.

This is a slightly longer version of the article written specially for the Guardian newspaper (Family Section) published on the 4th August 2007.

1. Negotiate sensibly and early
Make a note of what you agree, itís easy to forget the detail of arrangements later, especially if you agreed them months before. Be fair and flexible; remember you and your ex-partner both have holiday needs. If your ex-partner has work commitments try to take some days leave to share out the holiday childcare.

2. Donít over promise
Donít oversell the holiday to your children or get competitive about who is going to give them the best holiday. You may be staying at home with your children while your ex-partner is taking them abroad, or the other way round. Remember, you just want your children to have a lovely time, during the holidays whoever theyíre with, and wherever they are.

3. Plan the time
If youíre going away, choose and plan the holiday with your children. If youíre staying at home, make a rough daily plan before the holiday starts; outings, a picnic, a family barbeque, a film or a making and doing day, for example (there are plenty of ideas for things to do at home with your kids here on dadcando). Be flexible, the plan is only your guide.

4. Plan the food
A week of providing three meals a day will be a shock if you are not used to that routine. Donít spend the week eating takeaways or sitting in restaurants; plan to cook for them, theyíll love it. Strike the balance between wholesome food and treats, but cook food that you know they like.

5. Be prepared for minor illnesses
You only have a few days to it would be a pity to waste them on headaches, tummy upsets and sun burn. A change in a childís routine can cause problems which are often expressed as minor ailments like headaches and tummy upsets. Stock a basic medicine box with age appropriate paracetamol (Tylanol or Acetaminophen, US) medicine suspension and some small sticking plasters (band aids) and always use sun cream.

6. Make a packing list
If you are going away for a week, or even just a couple of days, start a packing list and get out the suitcase a few days before the holiday; put things on the list or in the suitcase as you think of them. For young children and even those up to the age of about 10 or 11 years old, remember to pack a favourite teddy or cuddly toy.

7. Promote contact
Encourage your child to phone, email or send a postcard to their mother. Help them to do this, especially younger children, but give them their privacy if they want to speak on the phone or write something in private, avoid the temptation to try and overhear what they are saying on the phone, and donít question them about what was said after they have hung up unless they look distressed after the call. Understand that they will be missing their mother and that this doesnít reflect on the holiday or how much they love you.

8. Donít quiz them about their other home
On an extended stay, you are likely to relax into longer and more interesting conversations. This is a great time to get to know your children, but donít use this opportunity to quiz them about their mother. Listen to them and take in what they have to say. If you want to know more about their life (and you should) then ask them about their school and their friends and get to know the sort of things they do while youíre not around.

9. Relax
Donít try to do too much in this holiday. Pace yourself, thereíll be other holidays, other weeks. Putting too much pressure on this time will only spoil it. If youíve planned and youíre prepared, then just relax and enjoy yourself. Be yourself with your kids. Remember, this is one more step in the growth of a relationship that has a life time to develop.

10. Be yourself
Resist the temptation to spoil them with expensive treats and gifts, they are not a substitute for your time and love; youíre their dad not a toy shop. Your kids love you because youíre their dad and youíre there, just for them.

We want to hear from you. If you have any interesting tips or suggestions for things to do that have made your life better and helped you get the most from the time you have spent with your children, then please tell us and weíll put them up on dadcando. Click here to tell us your advice or tips.


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