What’s better than being with your kids during the holiday season? Likely, you answered “nothing.” However, if you’re co-parenting during the holidays with a former partner, likely you also know that this time of the year can be one of the most stressful time for sharing parenting time and responsibilities.
To make co-parenting during the holidays a little bit easier, Turco Legal put together the following tips:
- Communicate, plan ahead, and stay organized. Do your best to collaborate with your ex on parenting time. Start planning early. Once plans are made, put them in writing, including dates and times, locations, the roles and responsibilities of each parent during holiday traditions, and any special arrangements that might be needed. Use your decree as a starting place regarding parenting time during the holidays, and refer to it if there is any confusion.
- Don’t feed the flames. Collaboration is key, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. If conflicts arise between you and your ex, do your part to keep the kids out of them. If your ex starts a fight, don’t take the bait.
- Watch for any trigger points and avoid them as much as possible. If you know that texts between you and your ex are likely to turn into war, avoid them and communicate another way. If you know that alcohol brings out the worst in your thinking about your ex, avoid it while the kids are around.
- Stay flexible. Leniency and cooperation can go a long way when co-parenting during the holidays, where schedules are already uprooted and there doesn’t seem to be enough time for anyone to accomplish all plans. If one parent’s family is visiting on a particular day, the other should be willing to trade days so that your child may see extended family. If one parent has planned a special holiday night out, the other should be flexible with pick-up times to allow the children to attend.
- Create a new tradition with your children. Whether it’s attending a holiday performance or volunteering together, creating a special new tradition can enhance the experiences of your children and your family.
- Don’t create competition. The holidays are not about besting your ex. If kids get more presents at one house than the other, or if one holiday event or party seems more fun than another, don’t take things personally, don’t compare, and don’t gloat.
- Take time to relax with your kids. Busy holidays affect kids as well as parents, and it’s important to ensure the kids get some time to decompress. Start a relaxing new tradition, whether it’s watching a favorite holiday movie with hot cocoa or reading an uplifting story together.
- Take time for yourself, too. Take advantage of time alone to practice self-care—run a bath, enjoy a special meal, or sleep in. Taking care of yourself will allow you to take care of your children much more effectively.
- Let kids connect with their “village.” The holidays are about spending time with family, friends, and loved ones. Besides you and your ex, your children likely have many others who would like to spend time with them during the holidays. Allow that to happen, whether it’s your side of the family or not.
- Approach the holidays with a positive mindset. Remember that ultimately, co-parenting during the holidays must be all about the kids. Always keep in mind what is in the best interests of your children.
For more helpful tips about co-parenting during the holidays, view our recent video where Damian Turco discussed with Christina Curro “Making it through the Holidays While Avoiding Family Conflict”.
If you have any questions about co-parenting during the holidays, you may schedule a free consultation with our office. Call 978-225-9030 during regular business hours or complete a contact form here, and we will get back to you at our earliest opportunity.
Happy Holidays from Turco Legal!