Co-parenting is difficult in general — for the parents and the children. But co-parenting during the holidays can be nothing short of all-consuming.
But don’t lose your holiday spirit just yet. The eight tips we’ve highlighted below aim to help you navigate what should be a happy time and maintain your perspective in the process.
Tips for Holiday Co-Parenting
While life in a split family might be, at best, nuanced, and, at worst, total chaos, kids are counting on their parents to provide happy holidays and wonderful memories.
Using the tips below for co-parenting during the holidays, aim for the high road and the best interests of your kids.
1. Plan Ahead
Communicate with your co-parent as early in the planning process as possible to get everyone on the same page. Doing this will help avoid conflicts, misunderstandings, and, hopefully, arguments.
If possible, solidify the plan, including the co-parenting holiday schedule, over text or email so it can be easily recalled.
2. Reach Out to Your Co-Parent
The goal in all of co-parenting should be looking out for the best interests of your child and ensuring that the relationship with both parents is nurtured and healthy. Holidays should be an opportunity to create positive memories for the kids, not a battle between parents.
Use your most effective and best form of communication (whether over the phone, in person, or using a co-parenting app) to lay out the schedule and talk through plans.
3. Talk About Gift-Giving
Resist the urge to argue with or want to outdo your co-parent when it comes to gifts. We suggest, where possible, talking with your co-parent about gifts.
This prevents overlap, helps determine what stays where and what travels back and forth, and provides a more enjoyable holiday for everyone.
4. Make New Family Traditions
Family traditions are difficult to maintain after divorce, even with the best of intentions. Prioritize bringing together the important people in your life and incorporate memorable (traditional or nontraditional) activities that make the time special.
This is a new normal — make the most of it!
5. Return to Your Parenting Agreement
Splitting holiday schedules can look different for every family. In most parenting plans or visitation schedules, there is an outline of which parent gets which holiday and when.
This outline often refers to the assignments of even and odd years for the co-parenting holiday schedule so that it’s easy to remember and stay on track. When in doubt about who has what holiday, refer to your court order.
6. Consider Alternative Dates
Often, divorced parents get hung up on having Christmas on Christmas and birthday celebrations on birthdays.
But kids don’t assign as much meaning to the date as they do the quality time they get with their families. If one co-parent gets the actual holiday, choose a different date.
7. Have a Talk with Your Kids
Once you have a plan for the holidays and agreement from the co-parent, talk with your kids. Let them know the schedule and encourage excitement around the new family traditions and celebrations.
8. Look Out for Yourself, Too
The holidays are already stressful, but when co-parenting is added to the mix, it can be way worse. This serves as your reminder that it is important to look after the kids during this time. However, it’s just as important to look after yourself.
Co-Parenting Questions? Get Answers from Trolinger Law Offices
The holidays can bring up conflicts that co-parents may not expect. The points above can help. However, if questions or concerns remain, reach out to a qualified family law attorney at Trolinger Law Offices.