Christmas is a special time for families to come together and celebrate the holiday season. For newly separated or divorced parents, Christmas can come with a lot of heartache, stress, and loneliness as you navigate this unfamiliar territory. By making appropriate arrangements well in advance, you can ensure you and your former spouse enjoy a happy Christmas with your children.
Putting sensible plans in place doesn’t have to be difficult. By keeping your ex-partner’s feelings and the best interests of your children in mind, you can develop a plan that works for everyone. So, what should you consider?
How to co-parent over Christmas Part 1
Practicalities of dividing time
When your ex-spouse lives far away, perhaps interstate or international, sharing time on Christmas Day with your child may not be practical. While we understand Christmas Day has special significance, consider longer stays with each parent to reduce stress on your child.
Will you alternate holidays yearly, for example, the child spends one year with you and the next year with the other parent? There are many options for dividing time spent with each parent on special occasions and holidays.
Consider any other factors that may render plans impractical. For example, if your child has specific medical needs, can both of you ensure those needs are met? Are you both equipped to handle any emergency that arises from a medical condition?
What are the child’s wishes?
Children don’t like being passed around like a football without understanding the situation, nor is it good for their wellbeing. Keep them in the loop when making Christmas plans and consider any input they might have. It’s important to know that this is not about your kids making the decisions, ultimately as parents the final decisions rest with you. It is important to understand their wants and needs though and take those into account.
You don’t just want to spend time with your kids; you want that time to be fulfilling and fun for you both. Considering your child’s feelings will make them happier and enjoy their time with you more.
Communication is key
Keep communication channels open at all times over the holiday period. Once a plan is in place, everyone should understand what to expect. If there are any unanticipated changes, ensure the other party knows what’s happening and how you will approach it. You might also want to discuss what presents will be given, activities you will be doing, and where you will go if you plan to take a trip with your child.
Things will always happen that are out of your control. Instead of laying blame for a plan falling through, be willing to find ways to accommodate changes. Perhaps your child can’t return on the day you agreed on because of a cancelled flight. Waiting another day shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe your child isn’t comfortable with an activity you planned. You may have put much effort into your planning, but your child’s interests are paramount. You can find another activity you can both enjoy.
Christmas can be a difficult time for divorced parents. However, with proper planning, you can make the holiday period the happy, and fun family time it’s supposed to be.
If you have any questions about how best to arrange your Christmas holidays as co-parents, contact Life Law Solutions to book an appointment today.