Co-Parenting: How to Make it Work During the Holidays
While the holiday season can bring lots of cheer it can also be a very challenging time of the year, particularly for parents and kids who aren’t able to be with who they want to be with when the holidays they celebrate roll around. If you’re new to co-parenting, you might be feeling sad and anxious about the prospect of their first holiday seasons living in separate houses. We talked to real parents about how they dealt with their first holiday season co-parenting. Check out their advice below.
“Make a plan in advance, like as far in advance as possible. If your whole family lives together it can be easy to go with the flow but if you’re trying to coordinate holiday schedules across two households you’ll need to plan further out. When you can, mark out all the important things you want to do with your kids, have your co-parent do the same, and then sit down to talk about it an negotiate.”
“If you have a civil relationship with your co-parent, think about whether it’s possible to do something things together. The more you do together, the less you’ll have to be apart from your kids.”
“It can be really nice to have some traditions that aren't tied to a specific date like picking out a Christmas tree or decorating to holiday music. That way, even if your kids rotate spending actual holidays with you you’ll still have some traditions you can do every year.”
“With my kids, we would always do the week leading up to Christmas and Christmas morning at my house. Then my daughter would go to her father's at 4:00 pm on Christmas and stay through New Years. It’s not ideal to have to split the day but we knew she wanted to see everyone on Christmas so that’s what we did.”
“If you’ll be spending Christmas without your kids for the first time this year be prepared to feel a LOT of feelings. You might feel really sad but, remember, they’ll be home soon. Also, make plans to do something you really enjoy or to have family or friends stay over so you can still wake up and have a Christmas morning. Whatever you do, don’t stay at home all alone staring at your Christmas tree and being depressed. Make breakfast, go for a walk, meet friends, go to a movie – whatever – just don’t be sad and alone”
“Since my kids' father lives out of state, we have to rotate the holiday and one of us just doesn't get to be with them each year. It’s really hard. The first year we both wanted to be with them for at least Christmas Eve or Christmas so we did the switch late on Christmas Eve. We realized switching in the middle of the holiday fun really stressed my kids out though so we talked and decided, even though it was REALLY hard for the one of us who was missing out, that we would switch the kids on the 23rd so they got to get settled in and relax during the holiday.”
“Seeing other families' holiday pictures and seeing them all unwrapping presents together on Instagram can be really, really hard when your family just split up. Take a social media break if you need to. Also, remember that families really do come in all different forms and that your family is NO LESS awesome than any other family just because you’re in different houses.”
How do you handle co-parenting during the holidays?