The holiday seasons present unique challenges to those who are involved in co-parenting. Nevertheless, those who share parenting duties can make a fun, stress-free, and memorable holiday possible for their children. Here’s what they can do to pull off a holiday bash that they and their children will surely enjoy.
(1) Arrange your schedules beforehand
You and the other parent must review your agreement or court order months before the holidays. It is especially important if both of you have not viewed the document for some time. The amount of time will allow both of you to iron out the specific details. Among the vital information, you need to agree upon is the timing of exchanges, the location of these exchanges, and the duration of the children’s stay with the other parent. You can arrange for the children to stay with you this Christmas then let them go to the other parent on the following holiday that would come after that. It pays to have a mutually agreed-upon calendar for the year so that there are no unnecessary surprises.
(2) The child must understand the holiday schedule in advance
After you and the other parent have discussed your children’s holiday schedules, tell your children how the arrangements will be. Listen to their concerns, questions, and thoughts. If there are some issues that they will raise, check how the schedule and plan you and the other parent made could be adjusted to address their concerns. The other parent should also be aware of these adjustments to avoid disputes that may arise. Make them feel and understand that they will still have fun with both of their parents in ways that are only special for them.
(3) Let the children have an opportunity to talk with their other parent
If the child wishes to talk with their other parent, especially if they are young or if it is the first time that their other parent will not join them for the holidays, give them that opportunity. Skype, Pidgin, and Zoom are available options if you prefer remote video communication for your children over personal meet-ups.
(4) Attend your children’s school events
To have a mutually agreed-upon calendar with the other parent is practical. There are many red-letter days that you can jointly or separately attend, especially if those days are school events. As much as possible, make it a point between you and the other parent to visit your children’s recitals, plays, class parties, or science fairs. Let the children see and feel that both of you are still their parents even if they are aware of the reality.
(5) Agree upon the kinds of gifts that either of you can give
Gifts are things for your children to enjoy. As such, these should not serve as flashpoints. Talk with the other parent about the kinds of gifts you plan to give to your children to avoid duplication. Straighten out other potential sources of disagreement that could come from giving gifts to your children. Set the limits and kinds of gifts that each of you can give your children.
(6) Give your children a joint gift
Show your children how both of you care by coming up with an effort or a present that both of you would strive to provide jointly. Confer with the other parent concerning the details and kind of gift that both of you can give your children. A joint gift would help boost their self-esteem since it would make them feel loved like other children despite your relationship.
Enjoyable holidays are still possible in co-parenting
Giving your children fun and memorable holidays will help them eventually adapt and move on with the new family dynamics. It doesn’t mean they have to forget their previous memories with the other parent. It is just a matter of making them realign their perspectives on what makes a family holiday fun and enjoyable. As parents who have shared responsibilities, both of you must always have their best interests in mind, no matter what day it is in the calendar.
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