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How to Co-Parent During the Holidays

Children look forward to the holiday season every year. It is a time of joy, festivities, and family. For recently separated or divorced couples, this time of the year might be a little more difficult than normal. This does not mean that it must be though. And keeping the holiday spirit alive for your kids despite a recent divorce or separation will also do you some good. Today, we go over some helpful tips on how to co-parent during the holidays.

Reference Your Co-Parenting Plan Before Scheduling Activities

To do your best to ensure the holidays run as smoothly as possible, it is important to make sure you and your ex-spouse understand your co-parenting plan. You want to avoid any disputes during this time and you definitely do not want to make your children choose which parent they would like to spend the holiday with, which would be uncomfortable for them.

Additionally, know that sometimes a compromise might be needed. Do your best to communicate your needs effectively and always remember to strive to do what is in your children’s best interests.

Be Specific About Pick Up and Drop Off Locations and Times

The less confusion over which parent will pick up and drop off the kids and take them wherever they need to go, the better. Transitioning from one residence to the other should be a seamless transition. It is stressful on everyone involved to switch pick up and drop off locations and times, so try to stick to them.

Agree on Which Traditions Each Household is Responsible For

Co-ordinate with your co-parent to determine which festivities, traditions, and activities you would like to plan at your home. While certain activities, like opening Christmas presents, will happen at both households, you may want to break up other ones like Christmas mass, caroling, wreath decorating, trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving arts and crafts, and more.

Plan Gift Giving

Planning gift giving with your co-parent reduces the chances of your children having two of the same gifts and ensures you are both spending around the same amount for each child. You may want to speak with your co-parent about going in together and both contributing money to a purchase a larger gift for your children.

Understand Your Children May Be Emotional

The holidays are an emotional time for almost everyone – with families transitioning while going through a separation or divorce being no exception. With this change will come a period of needing to adjust. Children may act out during this time or show more emotion than normal. That is alright as they too are going through a new transition. Try your best to understand that and be kind to them as they navigate this time with you.

Have a Conversation With Your Children

Schedule a time to speak with your kids about what is going on and how the holidays will be different this year. Be as honest as you can and remind them that you want them to have a good holiday season. If you have a holiday plan in place, share it with them so they can mentally and emotionally prepare for what it will be like during the holidays moving forward.

Create New Holiday Traditions

Just because you are in a transition as a family does not mean you cannot have fun this holiday season. Give yourself and your kids something to look forward to by planning a new tradition. Some new holiday traditions might include:

  • Family Halloween costume contest
  • Thanksgiving at a restaurant
  • Holiday picnic
  • Pie baking for fall
  • Thanksgiving arts n crafts
  • Pumpkin carving
  • Christmas sweater dance party
  • Christmas games
  • White elephant gift exchange
  • Cookie baking
  • Wreath making

Set Aside Some Down Time

There are a lot of adjustments going on, so it is important to prioritize rest and relaxation. You can do down time as a family and all watch a movie or read a story together. Taking time to let everyone unwind reduces stress and fosters a well-balanced environment.

Take Care of Yourself

With a co-parenting plan in place, you will not have to be around your children nonstop this holiday season. When you are alone, consider spending time with friends and other family members. You can also devote days just to yourself and do whatever you like to do in your free time – without anyone else around. Maybe go see a movie or visit your favorite local coffee shop to read a book by yourself.

Contact our firm online for more information about our family law services or call us at (704) 343-8811.