The holiday season is often described as the most wonderful time of the year, but this time can present unique challenges for co-parents. Navigating the holidays post-divorce or separation doesn’t have to be a minefield of stress and conflict. With careful planning and open communication, co-parents can ensure their children have a happy and memorable holiday season.
Being a co-parent during the holidays is like juggling. Focusing on your children’s needs rather than your desires or issues with your ex can make the process go more smoothly for everyone involved.
Planning should revolve around the children’s needs
The focus for holiday plans should always be on what’s best for the children. Consider their ages, interests and routines.
Younger children might find it difficult to adjust to new environments quickly, so try to minimize disruption. Older children may have commitments and social events, which should be considered when planning.
Consider joint celebrations when possible
While it’s not feasible for all co-parenting situations, joint celebrations allow the children to celebrate the holiday with both parents. This approach minimizes the back-and-forth between households and provides a sense of unity, even if the parents are no longer together as a couple. This can only work if both parents are amicable and committed to making the experience pleasant for the children.
Work together on gifting
Coordinating gifts can be another challenging aspect of the holiday season for co-parents. It’s crucial to communicate openly about who is buying what to avoid duplicate gifts or one parent overshadowing the other. A shared online wish list can be a helpful tool for keeping track and ensuring fairness. It’s also a good idea to set a budget that both parents agree on to maintain a level playing field.
Ultimately, the guidelines for the holidays should be clearly stated in the parenting plan. This enables both parents to clearly understand what’s going to happen on these special days.