Co-parenting at Christmas? 10 Tips for a Merry Time!

Co-parenting at Christmas? 10 Tips for a Merry Time!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year with merry-making, presents and joy filling the air. However, this most exciting of seasons can be a little tricky for divorced and separated families, and co-parents everywhere.

Co-parenting is not easy at the best of times, however, during the holiday season, it can generate an added layer of stress. Vacations, holiday traditions, decorating, buying gifts, merry-making, and even balancing the budget can take its toll. 

Successful co-parenting during the holiday season takes lots of maturity, communication, planning, and understanding from both parties. 

It’s crucial to give your kids the best Christmas you can without having to make them feel the difficulties associated with divorce.

What it means to co-parent

Co-parenting basically means making child-centered decisions. Regardless of what your feelings may be, you should work together with your co-parent to ensure your child/children thrive.  

Co-parenting works when both parties set aside conflict, hurt, and other selfish pursuits, to focus solely on your children. You must learn to love your children more than you hate your co-parent. 

Ten tips to successfully co-parent at Christmas

  1. Talk to your children

The first part of making merry is talking to your children about the holidays; they should be your priority regardless of your differences. 

If your children are old enough, you can ask for their opinion or what they would prefer to do. 

  1. Make the merry season children focused

Focus on your children this festive season. Some may want to be near friends, some may prefer a holiday, and others might request split time with parents. 

Asking for their input fosters understanding and negotiation skills. 

If your child is experiencing their first holiday without both parents together, it’s crucial to explain the situation to manage expectations and minimize disappointment. 

Preparing them for the current circumstances helps them to feel more at ease as the holidays begin. Understanding that this could become their new normal will aid in their adjustment, and starting off on the right foot can make future adjustments easier.

  1. Plan in advance

Negotiate with your partner and ensure your talk centers around the kids. In case you’re not on good terms, put aside your ego and differences, and if not possible, you can seek legal advice to assist you to come up with an acceptable agreement. 

Have everything on paper or record, whether it’s custody agreements or a co-parenting calendar. This way, it’s easier to use the paper trail to make wise decisions and to also remind your partner if they seem to have forgotten. 

Additionally, careful planning ensures both parents are on the same page, thus making the holiday flawless. Plan on gift giving, your special traditions to uphold, and any other applicable schedule. 

Remember, planning leads to success. 

  1. Split time equally

Unless your separation is under unusual circumstances, it’s best to split time equally if you can’t be together. Both parents should enjoy holiday fun with the children. 

However, if your former partner lives in a different country or state, it might be impossible to spend the holidays together. In such a situation, consider alternating holiday plans.

But when living close to each other, kids can easily switch from one home to the other.  

  1. Use a co-parenting app

It’s time for co-parents to embrace technology and start using a co-parenting app and calendar to make everything seamless.

Creating the parenting calendar and using an app will enable both parents to track, and come up with an easy-to-achieve schedule. Additionally, in case of changes, it’s easy to amend them without creating confusion or drama. 

Additionally, the apps have features such as messaging, that make it easy to exchange holiday photos, articles, videos, and keep both the parents updated. 

The co-parenting app is a great alternative and keeps the process painless. 

  1. Embrace new traditions

While it’s good to retain the cherished family traditions, it’s advisable to embrace new co-parenting traditions. 

These can create new, exciting ways for your kids to bond, learn new things, and have a fresh perspective on Christmas.

  1. Coordinate gift-giving

Coordinating gift-giving will reduce conflict and also prevent duplicate gifts.

Communicate with your children and ex-partner and coordinate on how to share gifts that your kids desire but not out of competition. 

  1. Communicate openly and be flexible

Open and clear communication leads to less misunderstandings and promotes a merrier holiday season. Avoid overreacting or correcting your partner in front of kids; and in case of any changes, keep each other informed. 

Stay calm when disagreements happen. Reminding yourself that it’s all about your kids will help you to keep calm.  

Flexibility in co-parenting is very needed to keep the holidays merry. Remember, things can change at the last minute, keep calm and go with the flow.

Additionally, learn to respect each other’s preferences, religious and cultural backgrounds, that can lead to different holiday traditions. 

Learn to incorporate elements from each co-parent side to enrich your kid’s cultural understanding and have a more inclusive and joyful experience. 

  1. Focus on kids’ needs only

Remember, Christmas is also about having and creating long-term magical memories for the kids. Put the kid’s desires and needs first. 

Ask them what gifts they desire, what traditions they like, and where they would love to make merry. Directly involving your kids means a more joyful holiday. 

  1. Celebrate together

If your situation allows, you may consider celebrating together and, if possible, under one roof. 

But don’t pressure yourself, though. This is only if you, your ex, and perhaps any new partners, are on board with the idea.  

Sharing a meal, cooking together, opening presents together, or even attending local Christmas events creates memorable times. 

Final thoughts on co-parenting at Christmas

Co-parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. However, you can make a success of it, even during the stressful holiday season with our tips above. 

Co-parenting, especially during Christmas, requires maturity, clear communication, careful planning, and solely focusing on your kid’s happiness and well-being.

Josie Smith
Josie Smith
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