The most wonderful time of the year doesn’t need to be anything less than wonderful when it comes to co-parenting! Children look forward to time away from school and parents look forward to spending more time with children. Although co-parenting through the holidays may appear challenging, we at The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C. have created a survival guide to help make this holiday season joyous for you and yours!
Kids' Needs Come First
Putting your children first is essential in successful holiday season co-parenting. It is a difficult transition from spending the holiday season as a family to splitting time or alternating days as co-parents. Remember to give your children the time they deserve with their relatives and to avoid any bad-mouthing in the process--regardless of your relationships with former in-laws, your children should never be made to be messengers or middlemen.
Maintaining the old and creating the new: traditions are a valuable part of the holiday experience. Have you always enjoyed touring neighborhood holiday light displays? Keep this tradition going! Have your children shown interest in baking? Why not start a tradition of baking cookies for Santa!
Another potential tradition could be a Moving Nativity Scene! Have your children help set up a nativity manger in the home. As a part of the scene, you can place figures to represent Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, and shepherds. To represent the journey and the birth of Christ, the figures can move closer to the manger as Christmas day approaches. When Christmas day arrives, children can finally place Jesus in the manger, along with the arrival of the other figures. This interactive activity allows kids to visualize the birth of Christ and get them excited for the true meaning of Christmas.
Cherished holiday traditions don’t need to be lost due to divorce or separation and they are a great way to establish lasting memories and stability for children.
Plan as Early as Possible
The Holiday Season Co-Parenting Plan, a must in the world of effective co-parenting! In this plan, you can record where your children will be and when and any traveling notes, such as who will pick them up and drop them off and at what location. Having this plan in place is a huge help for co-parents, as it leaves less room for worry, questions, and any uncertainties. Children thrive having a set schedule in place, making your co-parenting plan and schedules a necessity.
Additionally, you can use this co-parenting tool to arrange for “who-does-what and where” and “who-buys-what for whom.” Planning holiday festivities and shopping are complicated, but if you and your ex-partner can decide on who is taking your children caroling and who is buying them the #1 present on their Christmas list, it can alleviate a lot of stress and pressure. Depending on your relationship with your ex-partner, traditions like visiting Santa could even be done in together!
While you and your ex-partner might work together well and you have created a sound, thorough parenting plan, it does not mean that surprises won’t happen. We know the season and we know the signs, that tummy ache is more than just a tummy ache and if your child becomes sick the day before they are supposed to travel to your house, it might be better for them to stay with their other parent until they feel better again.
Or, if your child gets a last-minute invite to a good friend’s sleepover and they are more than excited to attend and show off their new toys, but it was supposed to be your night, you might be faced with a tough call. Flexibility is important in every co-parenting plan because surprises do happen and by lending flexibility with your co-parent, they can do the same for you in the future if you need it.
Know The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C. Has Your Back
The holiday season as a co-parent may seem impossible to conquer, but know that The Law Offices of Mark S. Knutson, S.C. has your back. We can help you navigate any co-parenting struggles you might have, ensuring that your children have the best holiday season possible.