Co-parenting is never easy, but during the holidays it can be downright difficult. The holiday season is usually full of school events, parties, and unexpected schedule changes. If you have recently separated or divorced, you know that things get a lot more complicated with two households. We have helped countless clients with putting together a realistic and reasonable co-parenting plan for the holidays. We would love to share some simple steps you can follow to make this holiday a bit jollier.
Create a Plan and Communicate
Part of the frustration of the holidays for many newly divorced parents is that they no longer have the luxury of the other parent around 24/7 to help to adapt to changing plans. You need to map out a schedule ahead of time. Discuss with the other parent any events the kids have going on. Share an online calendar so each of you can update it if need be. If anything changes, make sure to notify the other parent well ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.
Even though you and the other parent may not like each other, you need to still be respectful and understanding. During the holidays things don’t always go to plan. If the other parent is stuck in holiday traffic and late picking up the kids, don’t be a Grinch. Take a deep breath and remember that the season is all about giving- even giving a little slack now and again.
Keep the Kids Involved
Keeping the kids involved, especially during your first Christmas separated, is key to a smooth transition. Here are some ideas to help your kids during your first holidays apart:
- Have them create their own calendar with construction paper and stickers that show which house they will be on which day.
- Write a letter to Santa telling him which house they will be at and where to leave presents.
- Create new traditions along with respecting the old ones.
Co-parenting during the holidays may be difficult at first, but it does get easier. Like anything, you need practice, patience, and sometimes a bit of help. For assistance with a co-parenting schedule, call West Coast Family Mediation at (858) 736-2411.