Healthy Co-Parenting During the Holidays
Co-parenting isn't easy. Get aligned with your co-parent on plans for this holiday season to avoid any drama and enjoy more time with your children.
People tend to associate the holidays with perfection. The perfect day, meal, gift, decorations, and family. As much as perfection is portrayed on television, social media, and even store advertisements, it is rarely reality. We are all human and we cannot be perfect all the time in all aspects of our lives… and that is okay! You don’t have to fit the mold of a perfect family to have a fun and amazing holiday season. Collaborating with your co-parent during this time can help you to be aligned for your children and avoid an unnecessary stress for the entire family.
Make a Plan Ahead of Time
A holiday schedule should be included in your child custody plan. Having a schedule helps everyone know what to expect during the upcoming holidays and prevents the stress of the unknown. If you need to revise your parenting plan or need to create one, our child custody attorneys are here to help.
Schedule some time to sit down with your co-parent and create a plan that works for both of you. Keep in mind you will each need to make compromises to keep the best interests of the child. Whether you are on good terms with your co-parent or not, having a plan in writing will help both of you to be aligned during the most wonderful and hectic time of the year.
Try to Split Time Equally
Sharing can be hard, but it is also important to get comfortable doing so in this new reality. Splitting time equally between both households allows the child to have an equal holiday experience with both parents. We’ve all heard the saying “two is better than one.” For most kids having two holidays is better than one. Two times the presents and two times the fun! However, each family’s holiday experiences look different. If you live close it might be easier for the child to spend a little time with each parent on the same day. If you live states apart, switching off between holidays may be more convenient. Always do whatever works best for your family.
Discuss Gifts and Activities
This is a big one. It’s important to get on the same page as your co-parent about gifts. Doubling up on gifts every now on then is bound to happen whether it is giving the same gift as your co-parent or any other family member, but it is important to try your best to communicate this beforehand. It is not healthy for you or your child to experience one parent trying to “out-do” the other.
Discussing this can also help you set parameters on what gifts you should be getting separately or together. For example, giving a child a cellphone for Christmas might be a gift you may want to consider going in on together. If it is the child’s first cellphone, you will probably need to discuss with your partner what age your child should be for you to feel comfortable with them having a cellphone.
The same discussions should be had around the holiday activities to come. Maybe your child is okay with or even wants to do an activity twice, other children may not. If you are on good terms with your co-parent, you might even find activities you can all do together during while having these conversations.
Focus on the Kids – Set the Bad Feelings Aside
Whether you get along great with your co-parent or not, it’s always important to focus on the kids. Don’t worry about what they are doing. Worry about creating positive memories and experiences between your child and yourself. Focusing on spending quality time with your kids and those you love is what the holidays are really all about.
Even for the most “put together” people, the holiday season can be chaotic. Being flexible during this time of year is especially important. We can do all the planning in the world and unforeseen events can foil them in an instant. Be understanding with yourself and accept the idea that some things may not always go as planned. Remember what is in the best interest of your child and try your best to work with your co-parent to make that happen. Be open to adjusting schedules to find days and times that work best for everyone. While it may not always be easy, it usually works out for the best and it is great behavior to model for your kids.
Take it Easy
Co-parenting isn’t easy, so cut yourself some slack. Try your best to prioritize your children and work with your co-parent as much as you can, but you should never feel like you need to break your back to do so. If you are ever feeling stressed or like you are unable to reach an agreement with your co-parent, we are happy to assist in any way we can and hopefully relieve you of some of that stress. You can contact us at 720.594.7360 and we can work with you to help create a plan that works for you and your family.