Co-Parenting Over the Holidays
Tips to help co-parents communicate and coordinate over the holidays.
Holidays are stressful in every family scenario. Coordinating between families, making plans, and other arrangements become more complicated when children live between two homes. Creating plans and agreements ahead of time will help parents reduce stress and create expectations for kids.
Review Your Parenting Plan
Before the holiday season, review the parenting plan or court order; this will allow you and your co-parent to be clear on the expected schedule and plan accordingly. You can arrange family events or special meals for the time that you will have with the kids and make plans with friends at other times.
Splitting Custody over the Holidays can look different for every family. Some co-parents choose to alternate holidays each year, and others split the holiday itself. Co-parents may even decide to celebrate holidays together, but this depends on each situation.
If you do not have holiday custody as a part of your co-parenting plan, or you do not have a plan in place for co-parenting, it is best to contact a mediator or local attorney. Creating a parenting plan can be an effective tool in organized co-parenting.
Talk to Your Co-Parent
Whether you meet in a neutral location without the kids or schedule a phone call, creating a dedicated time to have a conversation with your co-parent can make holiday coordination a bit easier. Avoid going back and forth over the coming weeks by laying out the full schedule and talking through any plans.
As always, the goal with your co-parent is to create positive memories for the kids. Using a co-parenting communication service or app, such as TalkingParents, will allow you to have conversations that are unalterable, accountable, and ready for you if you want to review them at a later time.
Talk to the Kids
Once you and your co-parent have a plan in place, talk to your kids. Laying out the schedule and giving them clear expectations will help them get excited about the celebrations they get to enjoy with both parents. Answering any questions and listening to their concerns ahead of time will allow them to feel more relaxed and enjoy the holiday season.
You can also discuss Creating New Holiday Traditions and have your children suggest ideas. The holiday season is all about spending time with the people that love your children and creating memories. Making new traditions and celebrations can be fun for everyone.
Discuss Gift Giving
If items travel between households or parents are concerned about duplicating gifts, it may be necessary to speak to your co-parent about their plans for gifts for the kids. If the children keep their belongings in one home, this might not be a conversation you need to hold. If you and your co-parent do need to coordinate gifts and related expenses, TalkingParents offers the Accountable Payments feature. This tool keeps all your payments timestamped and documented.
Take Care of Yourself
Co-parenting, in addition to holiday stress, can be a lot to handle. When your co-parent is with your kids, take time to do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or meeting up with a friend. Over the holidays, make sure to eat healthy and spend time being active. Focusing on your physical and mental health is especially important because it will allow you to be more present when you are with your kids.
A co-parenting communication service can help alleviate the stress of conversations by keeping co-parents accountable and communication all in one place.