Preparing to co-parent successfully during the winter holidays requires thoughtful planning, communication, and flexibility. The holiday season, although festive and joyous, can also inspire unique challenges for families with kids who celebrate in multiple households. Being thoughtful and prepared to navigate co-parenting issues during this time can help you to better ensure a smooth and enjoyable holiday season for both you and your children.
As preparation is key, if you haven’t yet begun discussing holiday plans with your co-parent, have that conversation in the next few days. This will allow for ample time to coordinate schedules, address any concerns and make necessary adjustments to everyone’s expectations. Early planning can help everyone to avoid last-minute conflicts and misunderstandings.
What should you consider?
Most of the time, your primary focus should be on what’s best for the children. Consider their holiday wishes, traditions, and emotional well-being as you start your planning. With their need in mind, your first step will involve developing a clear and detailed holiday schedule, if one is not already outlined in your parenting plan. Once your plans are set, you can share them with your children if they are old enough to understand.
A shared calendar can be a useful tool for keeping both parents and children informed, especially if last-minute changes need to be made. Flexibility is often key to successful co-parenting, so you’ll want to remain reasonably willing to compromise on schedules and traditions for the benefit of your children.
Once scheduling challenges are ironed out, consider coordinating with your co-parent regarding gifts for the children, to better avoid competition, frustration or duplication, and if possible, involve extended family members in your holiday plans. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins can provide additional support and joy for your children during the holidays.
Finally, keep in mind that managing your own emotional well-being is important. The holiday season can be stressful, so make sure to allocate time for self-care and relaxation. This will help you be more present and positive when you’re with your children.