NJ.com reported in 2018 that single moms and dads made up over 276,600 households in New Jersey. These families likely have to manage co-parenting every holiday season, which can be tricky.
The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration and togetherness. For co-parents, however, it can also be a source of stress and conflict. Co-parenting during the holidays requires a little extra effort and cooperation to ensure that your children can enjoy the season with both parents.
Start discussing your holiday plans well in advance. Communication is key. Talk about how you both envision celebrating the holidays and consider your children’s preferences. Planning together can help prevent last-minute disagreements.
Things do not always go as planned, and being open to adjustments can reduce stress for both you and your children. Emergencies, changes in work schedules or other unexpected events can arise, so having a flexible approach is helpful.
Create a detailed schedule
Having a clear and detailed holiday schedule can prevent misunderstandings. Outline when the children will spend time with each parent, including pick-up and drop-off times. Make sure both parents are aware of the schedule, and share it with your children as well.
Share the joy of gift-giving
Discuss gift-giving plans to ensure that there is no overlap or competition. Coordinating gift ideas can help avoid unnecessary expenses and potential disappointment for the children. It is not about outdoing each other. It is about giving your children a joyful experience.
Focus on the kids
Always keep the best interests of your children in mind. The holidays are about making them happy and creating cherished memories. Put aside personal differences during this time and prioritize your children’s well-being.
While it is important to make the holidays special, try to maintain some consistency in your children’s routines. If they have holiday traditions, carry them over to each parent’s house to provide a sense of stability.
Avoid negative talk
Avoid discussing sensitive or negative topics related to the divorce or your former spouse during holiday gatherings. Create a positive and cheerful atmosphere for your children.
Communicate about any significant plans or activities that may involve your children during the holidays. Make sure both parents are in the loop, so there are no surprises.
Encourage your children to communicate openly with both parents about their holiday experiences and feelings. This helps them feel heard and supported.
Celebrate together if possible
If you can manage it amicably, consider celebrating some aspects of the holidays together as a family. For example, you might join for a special meal or attend a holiday event together. This can be a positive experience for your children and demonstrate cooperation.
Co-parenting during the holiday season requires work. By following these co-parenting tips, you can ensure that your children have a memorable and stress-free holiday season.