4 important co-parenting tips for the holiday season

During your divorce, your family will have to make some major adjustments. For example, the children will have to go back and forth between houses. The parents will have to acclimate to being home alone without their children occasionally.

Everyone will likely experience some struggles while the family learns how to handle these changes. As the holidays approach, the possibility for conflict, depression or bad memories presents itself. Thankfully, there are a few simple ways that you and your ex can help ensure that your first holiday season while separated or after your divorce will still be a wonderful time for the children.

Plan ahead of time

When the whole family lives together, it is possible for parents to make plans as they go, possibly not formally committing to attend a specific gathering or menu until the days right before the holiday.

That approach doesn’t work nearly as well for couples in separate households. Arranging your holiday parties so that the kids can be present at both and planning your menus ahead of time so that the children eat different food can be a great way to avoid letting shared custody suck the fun out of the holidays.

Coordinate your gift-giving

However much your child wants that new tablet, they probably don’t want to get two of the same device this holiday season. Both parents can give the children gifts they will find meaningful and enjoyable if the parents communicate with one another about what they intend to purchase.

One parent could buy the tablet, while the other buys a case, a screen cover and digital currency for the child to spend on their favorite video game. Working together will reduce the likelihood of duplicate presents or total flops.

Consider whether you can all get together

Regardless of the custody arrangement you have for the holidays, the kids will probably feel a little uncomfortable shuttling from one party to another.

Especially if your children are quite young, it may be better if you just have one celebration that everybody attends. This approach is not necessarily the best option if there is still significant conflict between the parents or if one has already started dating again.

Help the children with their gifts

Kids don’t just like to get gifts on the holidays. They also like to give them. Often, parents are the ones who fund and organize presents for each other.

You shouldn’t stop doing that just because the two of you have split up. Supporting your children by giving them money or helping them plan for a holiday gift for your ex will lift your children’s spirits and help you and your ex rebuild your relationship.