Navigating holidays as co-parents can be one of the most emotionally charged aspects of shared parenting. However, the challenges aren’t insurmountable. Co-parents can work together to find ways to share holidays in a manner that puts the kids first and minimizes conflict.
Joint holidays are more than just a logistical arrangement. They’re an opportunity for children to create meaningful memories with both parents. These experiences are important to a child’s emotional well-being and can help reduce some of the stress and confusion that come with having parents who live apart.
Set yourself up for success
Effective communication is the backbone of any successful co-parenting relationship, but it’s especially crucial during the holidays. Parents must discuss plans early to avoid last-minute chaos. Early planning allows time for negotiation and compromise, which enables both parents to have quality time with their children.
Setting a schedule, planning activities and allocating responsibilities like who will cook the holiday meal or buy gifts can go a long way in preventing misunderstandings and conflict. Just remember that the focus must be on your children.
Why flexibility can be your greatest asset
The best-laid plans can often go awry, and this is doubly true for joint holidays. Despite meticulous planning, unexpected situations can arise. Maybe one parent gets stuck in traffic, or maybe the kids suddenly fall sick. In such cases, flexibility is essential.
Being willing to adjust plans or trade-off responsibilities at the last minute can save the holiday from stress. This adaptability doesn’t mean compromising your happiness or plans but finding a middle ground where everyone, especially the children, can enjoy the holiday. It may behoove you to have all holiday terms in the parenting plan or in writing so you can refer to them as necessary.