Holidays can be difficult for divorced parents, especially if you’re sharing parental responsibilities. If you plan ahead, keep an open mind, and follow some of these coparenting tips you and your children will have a happy holiday season!
Plan Ahead and Get Organized
In addition to planning ahead, you should also be organized. This will help you avoid disagreements, and ultimately make your co-parenting relationship easier. To do this, consider getting a calendar and marking off your time with your children. This way, everyone knows when their kids are free or busy. You can also take the time to identify any communication tools that may be useful in coordinating schedules and activities—whether they’re apps or old-fashioned paper calendars.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a disagreement over how to schedule visits with one’s child during a holiday season visit from family members; however, it’s possible for both parents to come together on this issue if they do some planning ahead of time by working out a schedule before starting!
Keep Your Expectations in Check
- Don’t expect the other parent to be a mind reader.
- Don’t expect the other parent to be a perfect parent.
- Don’t expect the other parent to be able to do everything you can do.
- Don’t expect the other parent to be able to do everything you want them to do.
Build New Traditions
Try to build new traditions with your family. It’s always important to keep the kids interested and engaged, and a fun activity during the holidays is an excellent way to do this. Try starting with a small thing, like a new food or activity that everyone can enjoy with extended family or just between you and your children.
Get Creative About Compromised Activities
It’s easy to feel like you need to do everything the same way you did before. There is an assumption that because children want something, they need it. This isn’t true, though.
There are some ways that two parents can create a unified holiday experience: Find ways to compromise and share the planning of activities with your ex-partner. This could mean taking turns planning an outing or dividing up tasks between yourself and your child’s other parent (another great way to help kids understand their parents’ relationship).
For example, if one parent plans what they will do on Christmas day with their children then use this as inspiration for creating a plan for other days throughout December (such as Hanukkah or Kwanza). If both parents have something planned for each day, then decide together how best those activities can work together so everyone has time with family members and friends at different points during December without having too many commitments at once.
Be flexible with your children. The holiday season can be an emotional time for everyone; it’s important to remember that your children’s needs come first. If you feel like you’re having a bad day, take a deep breath and then another one after that, until the feelings pass. Don’t push yourself to get everything done in one day, especially if there are many different tasks involved and all of them require concentration. Your children will benefit from an attentive parent instead of rushing through everything, so take some time out for yourself as well!
Make Communication a Priority
It’s important to establish communication early on. Set up a time to talk about the holidays, and make sure your partner is on board with any decisions you make. If possible, work out a schedule for holiday visits with the children in advance so that your house doesn’t turn into Chicago Union Station during the festivities.
Use technology where you can. A family calendar can help you keep track of everyone’s plans—and be sure to put your own appointments in there too. You might also consider using texting or video chat if it’s hard for everyone to get together at once; this way, you’re still communicating without having a long-winded conversation over the phone or face-to-face.
When faced with the stress of co-parenting holiday plans, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources available for families during the holidays and beyond. You can ask for help from your ex, or even from other family members. If you feel overwhelmed by all the work involved in planning a celebration, consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor who can help you think through your options and find ways to relieve some of the pressure on yourself.
For an overview on coparenting during the holidays, watch the following video:
You Can Have a Happy Holiday Season Coparenting with Your Ex.
Yes, it is possible, you and your ex can work together to make it a special time for your children.
- Spend time with your child(dren) by having them help pick out gifts or decorate the house and tree.
- Allow your child to have guests over during the holiday season so they feel extra special
- If your relationship with the other parent is amicable, each parent could make one family meal; this could be cooking together in the kitchen or ordering takeout that everyone likes and eating together.
This year, you can get through the holidays with your ex by planning ahead and being flexible. Try to keep your expectations in check and find creative ways to compromise on activities that both of you enjoy. Make communication a priority so that you don’t have any surprises and you’ll find a happy holiday season is possible!
If you find challenges with coparenting during the holidays and believe it is time to modify your Allocation Judgment, contact Anderson & Boback to speak to one of our Chicago child custody attorneys.