When you’re co-parenting, the holidays bring along a new set of challenges that can make things complicated. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you can develop a plan you can deal with issues before they become real problems that can hinder your holiday celebrations.
Let’s explore ways to co-parent effectively during the holidays so everyone can enjoy their time together.
Have a Holiday Schedule
Any child custody agreement should include a holiday schedule. This lets both parents know which holidays they’ll be spending with their children. But, sometimes what may have worked years ago just doesn’t do it anymore. If you need to change your holiday schedule, do it in advance and consult your lawyer. They should be able to help you come up with a plan that works for everyone.
If there is no plan in place, you should sit down with your co-parent and come up with one. This can eliminate any arguments, especially in front of the children. Hopefully, you should be able to agree on a plan that keeps the children’s best interests in mind while being fair at the same time. If you can’t agree, you may need to contact a lawyer.
Learn to Be Flexible
Although you may have a schedule in place, expect to be flexible. You’re not going to get everything you want. It’s a give and take. If you’re flexible it should hopefully make your ex want to be flexible as well. Remember that if both parents can be flexible and at least cordial with each other, it will benefit the kids who should always be the top priority.
Admit That Things are Different
Change is hard for everyone and it can be hard to admit that things are different. Holidays seem to highlight that point with all of the traditions that they carry. But, if you can acknowledge that instead of trying to make things the same, it will be better for everyone.
You and your ex can sit down with your children and explain that everyone knows that things are different now but that doesn’t mean they still can’t enjoy the holidays. You’re just going to find different ways of doing things.
This is also helpful for adults. Parents can also have trouble accepting that things are different and may try to do things just as they were only to realize it’s not possible. Being honest with yourself first is important before trying to pass it down to your kids.
Start New Traditions
Chances are you had holiday traditions when everyone was together as a family unit. Now that things are different, traditions need to change. Start new traditions with your child that reflects your new situation. This will let your children know that while you may not be doing what you used to do, you’re starting something new that is just as special.
Coordinate Gifts & Don’t Try to Buy Love
It can be tempting to want to outdo the other parent and buy your children more gifts. Buying their love is not in their best interest. If you can coordinate gifts with the other parent and know who’s going to get what items it can make things easier. Also, if there’s a limit that both parties can respect, one parent won’t be trying to outdo the other.
Take Care of Yourself
During the holiday season, it can be hard to carve out some time for yourself. If you can practice some amount of self-care it will help you get through the holidays. You’ll feel less stressed and rested which will help to make you a better parent.
If you can keep these pointers in mind, co-parenting can be easier this holiday season. Remember to always make the kids a priority and everything else should fall into place.