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What to Do Between Contact Sessions

By: Imogen Jones LLB (hons) - Updated: 21 Dec 2022 | comments*Discuss
Contact Children Activities Toys Child

You have just dropped the children off, handed them back, and now you are looking forward to the next occasion when you can see the children. Rather than waiting for the next contact session to come round, start planning what you can do with them in the meantime. Obviously, where you have contact will influence what you can do, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

In a Contact Centre

Keeping a child’s attention on anything, depending on age can be a struggle. Contact the centre in advance and see if you can bring in toys or activities that you know are suitable for your child. Or, if you know your child loves reading, bring a book that you can read together. Gluing and sticking pictures together is a pastime which children of all ages enjoy and adults can join in, too.

Perhaps, bring some pictures along, of yourself, favourite animals, things that your child likes to do or eat. Try to gather these together over the period in between sessions, cutting them out of magazines or printing off pictures when you see them. Put them into a bag with a big bit of paper or card. Help your child put together a collage of these pictures. This is also a good way of encouraging your child to open up about any concerns that they could have, and, it also helps you keep in touch with your child’s likes and dislikes. (For more information, read our article Joint Projects To Help You Bond with Your Child on this site.)

Away From the Contact Centre

If you have the opportunity to take your children away from the contact centre you can plan what you and the kids do in advance. Ask them what they would like to do, or, if you have a particular idea you think they might be interested in ask them, they are sure to give you an opinion! This means that you and the kids know what you are doing, giving both of you stability and something to look forward to. Drama workshops, story times at local libraries and other activities don’t have to cost money if you are careful and do your research in advance. The park will always get a good reaction and you can take some bread to feed any local ducks.

Contact Overnight or for Longer Periods

This is the time where you get extended contact with your children and you should enjoy all the time you can have with them. However, it is not always games and activities that you have to plan. There might be occasions where your children have homework to do and things to get ready for school, such as projects. These have to be prioritised above other activities, and helping your child with homework can be just as rewarding as ‘more fun’ activities.

Talk with your children about what they would like to do in advance; again, activities don’t have to cost much or any money. A picnic on the carpet in the house is just as much fun as outside, especially if you get their help in the food preparation and packing into a bag. Camping in the garden or camping inside is another option.


Spending quality time with your children does not have to be expensive. Planning in advance what you can do with your children gives you both stability and something to think about and look forward to during the next contact session. That is not to say you cannot surprise them with a different activity or game that you have come up with. You don’t have to make the intervening period stretch out in front of you. Time spent without your children does not mean you can’t involve them every day in what you do and plan.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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cindybyrd - 21-Dec-22 @ 8:02 AM
Hi,my other half ignored me when I ask for FaceTime between contact sessions.She will communicate on some issues but as soon as I ask donthing like this she totally ignores me. What can I do?
Simon McDonnell - 13-Dec-18 @ 7:50 PM
hi I got a contact order on our son and dad cancels sessions with excuses almost like planned as he arranges the arrangements of sessions by email and phone with me then does a different ball game on the day. prior two sessions before this he has been 30 mins on dot late twice in row with 2 hours community contact. this was ordered by court after 7 months not seeing our son through not cooperating when I was in refuge from his behaviour. will the court see this evening if his work is his excuse although I have evidence of him saying when he's off and what jobs he has etc and today he arranged 12 til 5pm extended time which court order didn't even state just 2 hours and email me 11.37 saying his interview that was 9 am will over under til 2pm using its his birthday he's gutted excuse and can he have theo after but I was expected to hang around from 12 doing what exactly with little money and in 0 degrees weather. He knows me and his son travel over a hour to get to that centre I feel like he's taking the piss and doing it on purpose most of the times will court by his excuse of work? He plays the whole duty father act and joke is he didn't give money much towards our son together but now 20 a week if lucky. He was working alot too and saw him with new stuff along ime then say to me he can't afford things but yet in contact days he buys our sons loads to wo the staff over please help? I'm in vicious circle it's like he's controlling his again around his life and it not fair our son bow has preschool I miss out on hospital appointments and interviews for charity work in order to get this contact done when for the week and I have to consider time for travel once we hit traffic it can take us 2 hours I'm exhausted I want him to see his dad but he does make it hell for me
kk - 25-Jan-17 @ 5:24 PM
To cut a long story short. My brother is stuck. His ex has stopped access to the kids and said she will make his life hell back in November last year.She has called the police so many times when he went to pick the children up, making false claims of threatening behavior from him and has now filed an anti molestation order against him (all utter lies) so he couldn't approach the house or call his kids. Social services became involved in November last year, interviewed the 2 kids and her, interviewed my brother over the phone and said they would be conducting a visit to his house and to interview the eldest child but nothing has been done since. The eldest has no contact with the mum as the mum turned her back on the daughter when she chose to live with her dad.Cafcass got involved and sent their initial thoughts in a letter just on Monday this week. He has called Social services endless times and had absolutely nothing back. He and the kids went through Christmas and birthdays over the past 3 months with no contact. He filed an emergency contact order and had court yesterday. The judge said not to bother getting any paperwork out etc as he has made a decision already ( the judge had only just entered the room and hadn't even sat down!) it's up to social services to do their report and for Cafcass to do a full report too. There was no one from social services or Cafcass at the hearing so the judge said, we will probably have another hearing in April when the reports will have PROBABLY be completed! The social worker who was dealing with his case has since left! What can he/we do? he is completely stuck and powerless. The ex is mentally ill and her partner is he carer.
misssunshine73 - 5-Feb-16 @ 9:59 PM
Ben - Your Question:
Hi.I'm thinking of leaving my wife as she never let's me have my children on my own.she says I'm not responsible enough.I'm a 32 year old and I love my 2 boys to bits. Ones 5 the others 3 they are awesome kids.my wife says if I leave then I can only have supervised access and she says she can proove I'm not a worthy father.she let's her sister have the kids on her own.this is upsetting as I'm there father.all I want to do is take them out on my own so they can see me for who I am with out the wife there. I know I'm responsible and am more than capable of looking after them.I've already missed out on putting them on the small swing as they are to big.I know when I leave she will use them precious boys as grenades against me. I need to find out my rights and if it goes to court or when it goes to court I will just be truthfully and honest and hope it pays off.I can't believe it has come to this

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this and I'm sure the fact she is undermining you constantly can't do your confidence much good. If you can't agree access between you, the courts will suggest mediation first in order to try and sort access arrangements out. However, if your wife refuses to attend mediation then it will go to court. Cafcass will get involved, which will allow you to have your say, please see our article, What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? Link here. Our other article: How Visitation Rights Work For Fathers, link here may help. You may also find our Separated Dads Facebook page useful. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 25-Aug-15 @ 9:42 AM
Hi .I'm thinking of leaving my wife as she never let's me have my children on my own.she says I'm not responsible enough..I'm a 32 year old and I love my 2 boys to bits... Ones 5 the others 3 they are awesome kids...my wife says if I leave then I can only have supervised access and she says she can proove I'm not a worthy father ...she let's her sister have the kids on her own...this is upsetting as I'm there father..all I want to do is take them out on my own so they can see me for who I am with out the wife there. I know I'm responsible and am more than capable of looking after them...I've already missed out on putting them on the small swing as they are to big ..I know when I leave she will use them precious boys as grenades against me. I need to find out my rights and if it goes to court or when it goes to court I will just be truthfully and honest and hope it pays off ....I can't believe it has come to this
Ben - 24-Aug-15 @ 3:17 AM
Great article - I look after my children every alternate weekend and during my holidays in the UK and also take them abroad. I also work full time. My wife is furious by the Judge'sorder to allow me this arrangementand the Judge has asked she not contact me when I have the children as she tries to make the kids feel guilty for not being with her. She is a narcissistic mother and was previously physically and emotionally abusing the children. I collected evidence of herbehavior and I found it amazing how social services and the Section 7 social worker did not want to include this evidence in their report - the evidence however was submitted to court. The court cases continue.
Demetri - 3-May-15 @ 10:40 AM
@gg - yes, you should attempt to take this to court in order to gain contact with your daughter. In the first instance you need to read our partner article - When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access; link hereand begin the process outlined in the article, starting by writing her a letter. If you are having trouble paying legal fees I have also included a link to Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself, link here. Many fathers are now doing this with a positive success. You can also instruct the help of a McKenzie Friend to help your case. I have included a link here which will explain. You may also find our Separated Dads Facebook page useful as it has lots of helpful advice from fathers who are in a similar situation and includes a recent posting just yesterday which may help you and your case. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 5-Feb-15 @ 1:56 PM
My partner left me and is totally refusing any contact with my two year old daughter.She is refusing any contact but is allowing me to speak to my daughter via facetime.My daughter is now saying as soon as our conversation begins that she doesnt want to see daddy, but when speaking to her she wants daddy to play and take her on adventures.I keep on asking for contact but she refuses to answer during the facetime periods.I have seeked free legal consultation and cannot afford the fees.Any help suggestions would be much appreciated.
gg - 4-Feb-15 @ 3:40 AM
@What about Skype and Facetime, they are great ways to stay in touch and Skype is free! San.
San - 28-Nov-14 @ 2:32 PM
I am missing my kids, and will be more after Christmas, when they go down south to visit my ex's family - is there anything else I can do to be close to them at this time? Any ideas would be welcomed
Sean - 26-Nov-14 @ 11:30 AM
I have a court order in place and my ex partner is refusing to hand my son over to me for my access days I've already missed one day with my son and I'm about to miss another one where do i stand in this matter and what can i do
Kevwatson - 16-Apr-14 @ 1:02 PM
I have been thrown out of my home and had to move back with my parent's. I'm a 41 year old man with 2 children aged 3 and a half and 19 month old,she has giving no reason for the split and just keeps saying i can't keep going around circles?I don't know what to do?she is giving me some access but on here terms.Any help would be much appreciated
craigie - 28-Sep-13 @ 12:41 PM
Great article. Thanks for the ideas. I also find planning my next outing with the kids while we are together helpful as it gives them a time frame to look forward to and I get a better idea of what sort of activities they want to do.
Alfanut - 23-May-13 @ 9:33 PM
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