Christmas is considered the happiest time of the year. It’s a time to create precious memories with family – for some. But this isn’t so easy if you’re separated. Co-parenting can be difficult, especially during the holidays. However, with these simple tips, you’ll enjoy the time you have with your children, without the hassle.
1. Plan In Advance
There is no greater test of your planning skills than coordinating Christmas, is there? Everyone, including the children, wants to know exactly what will happen on Christmas day. If you plan ahead, your children know what to expect and what they can look forward to. With a parenting order, may be simpler. However, your ex may ask for a change. In this case, decide your plans early, to save time, conflict and stress. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to firm up your holiday season arrangements.
2. Communication Is Key
Without a parenting order, you’ll need to talk to your ex to coordinate the holidays. Presumably, you’ve determined a successful way to communicate, so use that. Remind your ex that you are considering their needs while putting the children first. Speak amenably and appreciatively, so your ex will be more agreeable. This will enable you both to reach a fair agreement, which suits the entire family. Keep your communication, polite and on point.
3. Set Plans In Writing
It can be a really busy time of year, can’t it? Frantic Christmas season plans – important arrangements can be made hurriedly and only verbally. So, when you organise the day with your ex, it’s a good idea to ensure the plans are finalised in writing. This doesn’t need to be a formal contract; a simple email or text, or a few lines on the parenting app, is sufficient. Remember, it’s important to have something you can both refer to if either of you is confused about the arrangements.
4. Put The Children First
Organising Christmas is similar to negotiating your co-parenting arrangements. It’s natural to get frustrated and draw lines in the sand. You are human, right? Remember, though, this Christmas is not about you and your ex; it’s about your children. You can be the architect of precious memories they’ll remember into adulthood, or you can make things tough on them – and on yourself. So, ensure the day isn’t marred by behaviour that’s driven by your anger, disappointment and hurt, like perhaps changing plans to inconvenience your ex.
5. Be Flexible
In everyday life, plans are constantly changing. So, if the arrangements have to change for Christmas, it’s essential to take any changes to the arrangements in your stride. Your ex may have a relative who can only visit for a short time. If so, perhaps you could help them to meet up, or give your ex an extra day with the children. You won’t be able to satisfy everyone, but try to be understanding and adaptable. Did you know that the most flexible person in any given space, owns the space?
6. Tell Your Children Santa Knows Where They Are
Separation can be confusing for your children. So, reassure them that many things won’t change. Remind your children that Santa knows about the new arrangements, and will still be there, no matter where they are. Let them know the plans for Christmas time. Tell them exactly where they’ll spend the day and when they’ll be able to see each parent, so that your children experience more certainty. A little clarity and reassurance goes a long way, and is a gift in and of itself.
7. Give Thoughtful Gifts
When co-parenting, it’s very important to get the gifts right. If you can communicate with your ex, let them know exactly what you’re getting for the kids. This collaborative approach will eliminate competitive gift-giving. And, if your child requests something relatively pricey, you could perhaps pool your resources together for a combined gift.
8. Have A Peaceful Season
With all the consumerism, it’s too easy to forget Christmas is about peace and togetherness. So, it’s might be great opportunity to improve your co-parenting relationship with your ex. If your unique circumstances make it possible, consider inviting your ex for a pre-Christmas lunch when they pick the kids up. This can perhaps create a more joyful atmosphere for your children and for both of you. Be safe, and here’s to a peaceful festive season to you and yours!