School breaks are a lot of fun for kids, but for divorced parents, the extra stress of having a child home all day for several days in a row easily becomes a concern. Parents need to work, but at the same time, they must be there for their children. That’s part of what makes school breaks so difficult.

As a divorced parent, you need to understand how you’re going to handle school breaks before they happen. Depending on your schedule and the schedule your ex-spouse has, it may be possible to take care of your child without the help of childcare. In some situations, childcare might become a necessary option.

To avoid a conflict over school breaks, know the exact dates

Nothing makes a school break more stressful than not being aware of it. Did your child suddenly tell you he or she has a day off tomorrow when you’ll be on the job? What will you do if that happens? Take note of this type of situation and include it in any parenting agreement you have. Try to plan for days off ahead of time by picking up a school calendar.

Be considerate of your ex-partner’s employment situation and your own

When your child is off school, someone has to watch him or her. If your ex-spouse has a job that easily accommodates the days off, that’s perfect. If not, you and your ex need to talk out how you’re planning to take care of your child during that time. Neither of you should demand the other takes off work, since that could put a job at risk.

These are a couple things to consider when you’re thinking about your child’s school holidays. Planning ahead helps you make sure you know when your child is home and helps you put a contingency plan in place if your schedules don’t match up.