Co-parenting during the holidays can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. It can also be undeniably stressful. As a result, thinking ahead can be helpful so that realistic expectations and thoughtful preparation can guide the season with room to remain flexible when possible and appropriate.
Early planning is key. Discuss and agree upon the holiday schedule well in advance. As December is fast approaching, if you and your co-parent haven’t worked out a schedule for the end of the year – when celebrations and time off school are usually the name of the game – it’s time to get going.
Considerations to keep in mind
Although you may not need this reminder often, it is important to keep your children’s best interests at heart when stress levels are running high. The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration for them. Ensure that they feel loved and valued by both parents. Avoid putting them in the middle of any disagreements.
To that end, flexibility can go a long way in smoothing over potential conflicts. Be willing to compromise and adapt plans if necessary. This flexibility shows your children that their well-being is your top priority. If your co-parent is stepping on your goodwill, you may need to revisit your parenting plan in the new year, but if it’s possible to keep from escalating tension during the middle of the holiday season, that will likely be to your children’s benefit.
Prepare to take care of yourself too
The tensions of the season are undeniable. The holidays can be an emotionally charged time. Take care of your emotional well-being and seek support if needed. Especially if your co-parent drives you crazy, taking time to take care of yourself is important. And if you feel guilty about making this effort, remember that your kids are more likely to enjoy the holiday season if you are relaxed than stressed.