Co-parenting is difficult in the best of situations, and we all know that most of us are not in the best of situations. Co-parenting can be even more challenging during the holiday season. There are some ways that you can help to smooth over the relationships during the holidays. Remember these notes as you work through the holiday season as a co-parent. Also, click here to read an article from the Huffington Post on holiday parenting.
- Allow your children some alone time or time to de-stress and unwind. The holidays can be exhausting when you are spending it with one family. Add in a second or even third or fourth family, and an already exhausting situation becomes an overwhelming situation for a child. To help the child or children to cope with the excitement, plan some time for the child to do some quiet activities by themselves or with just you. Some beneficial activities are things like coloring or reading.
- Have a plan when it comes to the costs associated with childcare and the holidays. The holidays are a wonderful time for children, but that often requires a significant amount of money, above and beyond normal expenses. It is important to plan as to how those costs are going to be split between you and your co-parent. Also, consider working out your work schedules to avoid extra costs during the school holiday break so as to minimize childcare costs. Finally, have a conversation with your child or children before any of this happens so that they know where everyone is going to be during the holiday season. If they are given time to digest the information, things are likely to go better for everyone.
- Be aware that your child or children are watching and they can read your emotions. Whether you say it out loud or not, children are very perceptive and can often tell when one parent is feeling sad or left out. It is important that your child or children do not feel guilty about leaving one parent on a holiday.
- Communicate openly with your co–parent, especially around the holidays. It is always important that there be open communication between co-parents, but the holidays present their own difficulties. It is important that the children are included in the conversations and that both families are given consideration in this holiday season.
- Continue family traditions despite the split. Although you and your co-parent may no longer celebrate together, it is important that the child or children maintain a sense of consistency. Thus, even if you are not together, it is important that you continue with family traditions during the season.
Click here to read the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines.
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