How to Manage a Co-Parenting Schedule This Holiday Season
The holiday season is typically full of festive activities for the entire family to enjoy, including families whose parents have recently divorced or separated. While the holiday season may seem daunting to those parents that are navigating such a transition in their lives, it does not have to be. Plus, working on keeping the holiday spirit alive for you and your kids is good for the entire family. Today, we review some helpful tips on how to best co-parent during the holiday season.
Remember to Put Your Children’s Interests First
It can be easy to fall into a dispute with your co-parent about the holidays as it can be an emotional time. However, whenever you feel annoyed or discouraged, remember to think of your children and what would make them happy this holiday season. This does not mean ignoring your needs, but it does mean compromising where you can so you can help your kids transition through this time as well.
Refer to Your Co-Parenting Plan Before Scheduling Activities
The last thing you want to do is ignore or forget about the co-parenting plan you and your ex-spouse put together for the holidays. It may be helpful to plan to speak with one another about the plan itself to ensure both of you have a solid understanding of what to expect this holiday season. Do your best to communicate effectively and avoid disputes and/or pitting your children against your ex-spouse. If you need the help of a mediator or attorney to accomplish this, do not hesitate to reach out.
Establish Specific Pick Up and Drop Off Locations and Times
The kids will be moving around a lot this holiday season with school activities, two households to visit (potentially more), and other holiday festivities. Be sure to know who will pick the kids up and drop them off to avoid any confusion. As this is a transition period in your children’s lives, it is important to ensure such details are ironed out before the holiday season begins. Organization will be appreciated by the children as they will be getting used to a good amount of changes during this time.
Co-ordinate with your co-parent to determine which festivities, traditions, and activities you would like to be responsible for this year. You may want to divide certain activities such as trick-or-treating, pie making, Christmas arts and crafts, and caroling.
You may also want to discuss gift giving with your spouse to ensure you do not purchase the same gifts for your children. It may make sense to both contribute towards a larger gift for your children as well.
Be Patient & Understanding with Your Children
The holidays after a divorce or separation will be emotional for all involved. Children will need an adjustment period to process the changes. As such, they may be more or even less emotional this year. Try your best to understand what they are going through and give them lots of love this year.
Now is also a good time to speak with your kids about what to expect this holiday season. You can ask them what they are expecting and answer any questions they may have. Do your best to be honest and compassionate.
Create New Holiday Traditions
Who said you could not create a new holiday tradition this year? Just because you are going through a transition period does not mean you cannot have a good time. Here are some holiday activity suggestions:
- Go out to a new restaurant
- See a movie together as a family
- Host a family costume contest
- Organize a family picnic
- Collaborate to make pies for your neighbors
- Make a holiday sweater
- Create arts and crafts
- Do a white elephant gift exchange
- Bake cookies
Remember Down Time
While planning and participating in holiday activities is exciting, you and your family will also need time to rest and relax. Down time does not have to be boring as you can do it as a family. Maybe you all watch a movie together or read a story snuggled up by the fire – whatever makes you de-stress.
Take the Time to Take Care of Yourself
As you will be co-parenting this season, you will have some time without your children this year. Consider this a blessing as you can do whatever you want during this time. Maybe visit some friends or take a walk around town. You could also practice self-care and buy yourself a massage or treat yourself to a round of golf.
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