The holiday season is a time for celebration, family and joy, but the reality is, it also comes with some stress. If you’re recently divorced, the anticipation and high expectations of a holiday season can make navigating this time of year even more challenging, especially if you’re co-parenting with your ex.
If your relationship is amicable, it’s important to develop a good co-parenting plan well in advance that’s specific to the holidays and puts the emphasis on the kids. A good arrangement can create realistic expectations for you and the kids, reduce potential conflict and alleviate possible stress.
Details of a co-parenting plan
The first holiday after a divorce is typically the most challenging, so now is a good time to talk about your expectations and plans. The change in family time will require some adjustment, but an arrangement that addresses the details will help you to figure out what works and what doesn’t. The time invested in a solid plan will prove worthwhile.
Keep these things in mind when creating your plan:
- Be specific about details such as how you’re going to split your time, how to honor traditions and create new ones, special arrangements one parent may have–say with extended family–and equity in gifting. If there’s potential for conflict, the more details you address, the better.
- Keep the lines of communication open and be willing to be flexible. This may require some give and take from both sides, but it will show the kids you can still get along. Take the opportunity to be a good role model for your kids by being respectful to each other.
- Accept change. Holiday time isn’t going to be what it used to be, but focus on what it can be and let the rest go. Enjoy the time together creating new traditions and memories.
- Take time for yourself. Taking some time away from the holiday stress can help to keep you focused on the positive.
In addition to alleviating some stress, a well-designed holiday plan for co-parenting gives children the chance to build holiday memories for years to come in a tension free environment. A solid arrangement will address the details, but primarily, it will put the needs of the kids first.