|Posted by Sarah I. Malik on December 4, 2018 at 11:55 AM|
With the holiday season upon us, challenges in co-parenting are more present than ever. Providing a holiday season that is memorable and stress -free for your children may be the greatest gift you can give them. For co-parents, here are a few tips that can help the entire family enjoy the holidays.
Be on top of the schedule. Review your agreement or court order in advance (especially if you have not looked it for some time) and iron out the specific details with the other parent. Make sure both of you are on the same page regarding timing of exchanges (e.g., a mid-day Christmas exchange) and locations of exchanges. Some parents’ schedules alternate holidays all together (meaning one parent may not have the holiday at all). In such a case, send a friendly reminder to the other parent who does not have the holiday so that there are no unnecessary surprises.
Discuss the holiday schedule in advance with the child. Make clear to your son or daughter who they will be spending the holidays with and when they will be with the other parent. Be open to their concerns, thoughts or questions in how the holidays will actually unfold. Remind them that they will have fun with both parents, but perhaps in different ways.
Incorporate facetime or skype to the holiday season. Especially for young children or if it is the first holiday apart, provide the child with an opportunity to talk and see the other parent if the child wishes.
Enjoy school events. This time of year is filled with holiday chorus concerts or class parties. Discuss the child’s holiday schedule in advance and invite and welcome one another to join in the events even despite the day of the event and the custody schedule. Use these opportunities to let the child see and know that you are both still her parents.
Discuss gifts in advance. Make sure gifts aren’t duplicated or that you are in agreement on the types of gifts for your child. If necessary, set a limit for each parent to spend on the child.
Buy a joint gift. There may be no greater gift for a child than to see his parents coming together for his or her benefit. Find a gift of any price that comes from both of you that makes clear, despite your relationship, you both love him.
Relax and try to enjoy this time. The holidays can be stressful even in the best of times. But, remember that even if with new family dynamics, there is an opportunity to make new memories. Create a new and different tradition with your kids, but don’t let it overshadow old traditions and memories.