The holiday season is upon us! For parents, this can be an incredibly exciting time. However, if you are co-parenting, it can also be a time of additional stress.
Nearly 50% of Americans will go through this holiday season needing to co-parent. Those who have gone through divorce, or were never married and have a parenting plan, know all too well that they can spend a lot of time, money, energy, and effort creating a holiday schedule that would be in their child’s best interest.
There are no doubt opportunities for misunderstandings to occur. We suggest the following tips to help you survive the holidays.
1. Be Grateful
Whether you are in an amicable or difficult co-parenting relationship, it can be hard to remember that the holidays are a time to be grateful. Make the most of the time you have with your children when they are with you. Keep conversations positive and remind yourself that it is important for children to have relationships with both parents. If you are not with your children for a particular holiday this year, remind yourself that you can make any time spent together special. Plan to celebrate or do something meaningful with your children the next time you are together.
2. Be Giving and Flexible
In most cases, a parenting plan will dictate the actual terms by which each parent is allocated their holiday time. There are certainly situations that will arise that require all parents to have flexibility. You may have holiday travel plans and your flight is delayed. There may be issues with transportation en route home. If the other parent is late at drop off or pick up, be prepared to give them a certain amount of grace. Make sure that you’re in communication with the other parent so that each of you knows whether there’s an expectation to be on time. Lastly, be flexible with the other parent. If a parent is running late or transportation problems exist such that it will cause you to miss some of your time, consider talking about make-up time on what that could look like.
3. Be Prepared
To effectively co-parent, take it upon yourself to be prepared. Read and re-read your parenting plan. Do not wait until the last minute to discuss or remind the other parent about exchange times, holiday plans, or any possible adjustments that may be necessary. Strive to put any agreements or discussions in writing so that each parent is clear on the plan and can reference those agreements. Lastly, if you have any concerns contact your lawyer with questions.
We wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and are here to help you if you need further assistance.