Holidays can be complex when you’re co-parenting, but if you keep the lines of communication open and boundaries in place you will get through it. What is most important is that your kids enjoy their holiday, feel loved, and spend time with their parents with as little confusion as possible.
Here are my 5 Tips on Keeping Co-parenting During the Holidays Civil and Happy!
- Confirm Plans with the Other Parent: Many parents have a court-appointed schedule in place for the holidays which lays out the specifics of pick up and drop off times. If you don’t have an order, it’s important to communicate with your child’s parent the days your child will spend with them for the holiday, the time they will pick them up, and return them home. I suggest writing the schedule in an email and then communicating a week before to confirm so there won’t be any surprises or miscommunication.
- Stick to the Schedule: Consistency is so important when you share the holidays. Listen, things happen that can be out of our control, but try to stick to the structure you have in place. Kids won’t feel shuffled around, instead they will feel secure if they know the plan.
- Keep Lines of Communication Open with Your Kids: Communicating with your kids about the holiday schedule shows that you respect them. Let them know at least a month ahead of time who they will be with during the holiday and how the time will be split. This is especially important with very young children. In my experience kids are pretty adaptable as long as you communicate clearly and honestly with them.
- Plan in Advance: Make the transition as simple and stress-free as possible. If they’re packing a bag, make sure they have everything they need at least a few days in advance. If you want to celebrate with them, do it a couple days before they leave. Another, thing you may want to do in advance is have them call their relatives before they leave if they won’t be able to talk to them on the actual holiday. A little preparation goes a long way in co-parenting.
- Put Your Best Foot Forward: Holidays are highly emotional and potentially stressful times. If you’re in a good place with your children’s father that is great! But, the reality is for many this is a complex relationship. I can’t stress enough how important it is to the well-being of your children to set aside differences during the holiday transition so they feel comfortable about leaving with the other parent. A kind word and a smile won’t kill you. If you’re the parent who has your child during the holiday, encourage them to call the other parent and if possible you may even want to offer a day for them to spend some time together.
The best thing you can do is always put your kids first and do what is best for them. The cooperation and kindness you show to your child’s dad is the biggest gift you can give them!