You have a parenting plan in place that works well for you, your children and your co-parent. However, that plan pertains to normal, day-to-day matters. Birthdays and holidays can be a special time for your family, but they also represent a departure from the regular routine. Therefore, it is necessary to adapt the plan so that it continues to work for everyone during festive occasions.
Co-parenting during holidays is challenging but doable. However, it takes organization and cooperation between you and your co-parent. Here are some tips to help you ensure that special occasions live in your children’s memories as positive experiences.
- Plan ahead but be flexible
You should take time well before the holiday actually approaches to sit down with your co-parent and devise a plan for the occasion. This plan needs to take into account your children’s individual, age-specific needs. You should be prepared to compromise on certain activities, as well as to advocate for the traditions that you would like to see continue.
However, unforeseen circumstances are at least as likely to arise during the holidays as at any other time. Therefore, you should build some flexibility in your plan to cope with whatever may come up, whether for good or ill.
- Discuss gifts
Do not turn gift-giving into a competition between you and your co-parent. The ones who are likely to lose out are your children. Instead, have a discussion with your co-parent to decide what types of gifts are and are not appropriate, how many gifts to give and how much to spend. Once you have decided on these guidelines, communicate them to extended family on both sides and ask them to abide by the rules you have set.
- Prioritize the children
Remember that the reason you are going to all this effort is so that the children can have fun, connect with family and build lifelong memories. It will help to center you in your decision-making if your first thought is always what will be the most workable, pleasant and convenient for your children.