Co-Parenting during the holidays can add an additional layer of stress. These stressors include splitting time between families, purchasing gifts, navigating family conflicts, and unexpected events. Effective co-parenting ensures that communication is happening and that the children’s best interests are in place. Working together to create a holiday plan can help ease stress and allow you and your children to enjoy the season.
Here are 5 Ways Divorced Parents Can Co-Parent Peacefully This Holiday Season
The holidays can be hectic. To minimize any misunderstandings, missed gatherings, and miscommunication, set time aside to plan out your holidays. This could include picking days for specific holiday plans/gatherings, alternating holidays yearly, or splitting the holiday evenly. Being aware of the details in your schedule and your former spouse’s schedule can allow for better planning and no misunderstandings. Planning ahead of time can help provide stability for your children by knowing the exact plan for the holidays and being able to spend quality time with both parents.
Put the Children’s Needs First
There may be many disagreements between you and a former spouse, but the one thing both parties can agree on is wanting the best for your children. It may be easier said than done but putting aside differences and effectively planning for the holidays can help create a healthy environment for your children to have fun and make memories during the holidays. Step back from arguments, do not speak ill about your former spouse in front of your children, and encourage time to be spent with both parents. It may also be a good idea to check in with your children and see if there are any specific holiday preferences.
Consider Sharing the Holidays Together
This is not an option for everyone, but some families co-parent and plan to spend part of the holidays together. Some of the benefits of doing this include: the children being able to spend time with both parents, fewer arguments about picking holidays, less disruption for your children, and it can be an opportunity to create new traditions and holiday memories with your children. This may be an option depending on the specific circumstances, but it may not always work for everyone. If this is possible for you, discuss the options with the other parent and try it.
From buying gifts to all the planning and getting ready for gatherings, it can be easy to slip away from your self-care. Taking care of yourself during the holiday season is essential to function optimally, staying healthy, being there for your family, and enjoying the holidays. It is easy to lose time for yourself during the holiday season. Engaging in gratitude journaling, exercising, meditation, yoga, deep breathing practices, and asking for support can all be great ways to take care of yourself during the holidays.
Seek Professional Support to Work Through Disagreements
If you find the holidays consistently full of disagreements, miscommunication, and frustration, asking for support may be a good idea. This could be reaching out to a family therapist or family mediator that can help settle any disagreements and assist in creating a plan that will work for everyone involved. As a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, I specialize in working with couples and families and offer mediation to help navigate disagreements and come to resolutions that result in effective and healthy co-parenting.
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