The holidays are always a special time for celebrating with family, but if you’re recently divorced, this season can be more complicated than usual. This is especially true if you’ve begun co-parenting for the first time. It may seem unbearable to think of not having your kids full time throughout the holiday season. There’s nothing better than watching your children experience a joyful holiday. However, it is possible to still have an amazing time while co-parenting during the holidays. By following some simple tips and best practices, you can achieve a goal of a great holiday season while sharing your kids with your ex. Here are 12 tips for co-parenting during the holidays.
Have a Set Schedule
When co-parenting during the holidays for the first time, it’s important to have a set schedule. Quality time is precious around this season, so you want to know that you and your ex have a plan set in place to share the holiday fairly.
While it may be a challenge to cut your time with your children in half, compromising is always key around this time of year. A lack of compromise can lead to a rise in conflict and can bring holiday plans to a halt for both parents. Remember to pick your battles and know when it’s best to meet in the middle.
Remember to Be Flexible
Last minute changes can happen more often than not during the holidays. It’s a good idea to be prepared for these unforeseen changes and be flexible. The more flexible you are, the more likely you and your children will experience a happy holiday.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
Once you and your ex have your schedule set in place, you may feel the urge to cut off communication and just enjoy your holiday on your own. However, it’s always best to keep the lines of communication open when you’re co-parenting during the holidays. Unexpected changes, events, or issues could always occur. You should always feel comfortable reaching out to your ex, and he or she should feel the same way in return.
Explain Everything to the Kids
If this is your first time co-parenting during the holidays, it’s very important to explain everything to the kids. Make sure they’re well aware of the schedule and who they’ll be spending the holiday with. When expectations are set at the beginning, it’s easier for them to follow along with the schedule.
Commit to Your End of the Deal
While it’s best to compromise, be flexible, and communicate, it’s just as important to be committed to your end of the bargain. Remember to be on time for pick ups and drop offs. Try to always show your kids and your ex that you’re there for them and you’re committed to co-parenting during the holidays.
Coordinate on Gifts
It’s always helpful to touch base with your ex and coordinate on gifts. If there’s a big purchase for one of the kids, try to go in on it together to show them that they’re still part of a family. Also, you want to avoid both parents buying the same present accidentally.
Don’t Dwell on the Past
Experience a holiday after a divorce will be difficult, that’s no surprise. You’ll inevitably reflect on past holidays and miss your old rituals. While reflecting on the past is hard to avoid, try not to dwell on it and focus on the future.
Start a New Tradition
When co-parenting during the holidays, it can be fun to start a new tradition for you and your children. Since the new family dynamic is always emphasized during this season, find a fun way to celebrate new beginnings.
Utilize Your Own Support System
Don’t forget to reach out to your own friends and family during this time. While the focus is normally on the kids during the holidays, it’s still important to have quality time with adults.
Practice Self Care
Even if you’re not recently divorced, the holidays can still be stressful. Remember to relax and take time for yourself. Get a massage or attend a yoga class. Do something special for yourself.
Give Yourself Credit
Last but certainly not least, pat yourself on the back. Co-parenting during the holidays is not easy. When you make it through a smooth holiday season, remember to give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished.
For More Information on Co-parenting During the Holidays
If you need more information or local resources to help you get through the holiday season, reach out to a trusted family attorney. An experienced attorney can give you everything you need to know to follow through with your holiday plans.