Tips on Co-Parenting During the Holidays

Parents who are divorced or separated are either new to co-parenting or very familiar with the process. Whether you have been divorced for years or this is your first holiday season as a co-parent, there are plenty of tips to help you keep the holiday spirit alive during this time. While it may seem difficult to co-parent during such a busy and festive time, it does not have to be. Today, we go over some helpful tips on how to best co-parent this holiday season.

Stick to Your Co-Parenting Plan

During most divorces, parents establish a holiday plan together to ensure their holiday festivities run smoothly with minimal stress. It would be helpful to review this plan with your co-parent to make sure it is still relevant for your family. Also, discussing the plan will help you both map out what to expect this holiday season and how to best prepare. If you must alter this plan, be sure to speak to your attorney or mediator for assistance.

Remember to Think About Your Children’s Best Interests

While disputes between co-parents are common during the holidays, it would be best to avoid them whenever possible. Try to put your differences aside and think about the best interests of your children.

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.

Create a Pick Up/Drop Off Sheet for the Kids

You will be driving your children around a lot this holiday season with school activities, multiple household visits, and other holiday festivities going on. It would be beneficial to create some kind of plan or sheet (if you feel like getting that organized) to determine which parent is responsible for picking the kids up and dropping the kids off to avoid any miscommunication.

Plan New Traditions

Instead of dreading the loss of certain holiday traditions this year, create new ones. There are plenty of activities, games, and festivities out there for the entire family to enjoy. If you and your co-parent would prefer to celebrate separately, you can divide certain days up. Perhaps one parent has the kids during the morning and early afternoon and the other has them in the late afternoon and evening.

Here are some suggestions on new holiday traditions:

  • Have Thanksgiving at a restaurant
  • Host a white elephant gift exchange
  • Do holiday arts and crafts together
  • Put up holiday lights
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Take holiday photographs
  • Knit a holiday sweater
  • Sing songs
  • Organize a family picnic

Practice Being Patient

The holidays tend to bring out everyone’s emotional side. Children may be extra sensitive during this time or adjusting to a recent divorce/separation. Try your best to communicate with your kids and connect with them if they seem out of sorts. Now would be a good time to ask them how they would like the holidays to be. Are there any activities you could do as a family that they may particularly enjoy? Would they like to open gifts together as a family or separate at each parent’s house?

Take Time to Practice Self-Care

You may be new to co-parenting, which will take an adjustment period. On the other hand, you may also be familiar with co-parenting but feeling apprehensive or sensitive about the holiday season approaching. Wherever you are in your divorce and however you may feel, it is important to take some time for yourself during the holidays to relax. Self-care will do you and your entire family some good. If you do not have the children for a holiday, take that time to do something extra special for yourself. Go on a road trip or spend the entire day with close friends.

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