For some people, the holidays can be a stressful time. Newly divorced or separated parents could deal with an even more stressful time as they try to decide how to co-parent their children over the holiday break.
Here are 5 ways to co-parent with your former partner:
1. Don’t Make Your Child Choose Who to Spend Time With
Your child loves you and your ex. To ask your child who they would rather spend a certain holiday with may be viewed as unfair to them and could cause unneeded stress or emotional turmoil. If you have a visitation schedule in place, consult that before making any holiday decisions. If you don’t have a schedule, work with your ex-partner to come up with a holiday plan.
2. Make Plans in Advance
The holidays are a time for extended families to get together. You and your ex-partner should decide where your child will be spending time before the actual holiday. Perhaps you would like to take your child a great distance to visit loved ones or your ex-partner has a tradition they would like your child to be part of. Scheduling in advance could allow for you both to get what you would like while still avoiding potential conflict.
3. Make Time for Traditions
The first holiday after a divorce or separation could be very painful for your child. Traditions you may have upheld as an entire family could either be changed to fit the new lifestyle or just thrown away altogether.
To help transition your child to this new way of life, try to keep as many holiday traditions as you can. If you and your former partner are on good terms, maybe you can even keep some family traditions intact.
4. Don’t Forget Down Time
Your child may now be celebrating holidays twice. The mental and physical exhaustion of traveling to family homes and/or interacting with more people than normal could weigh heavily on them. Consider reserving special hours of downtime either before or after an event to help your child cope and alleviate any stress.
Perhaps this downtime could be a new holiday tradition. For example, you could let your child relax in comfortable clothes, make them some hot chocolate, and let them watch a beloved holiday movie.
5. Practice Self-Care
If you and your former partner split holiday errands between the two of you, the added pressure of completing the extra responsibilities on your own could be too much. Even if there wasn’t an even split, the idea of preparing yourself and your children for a jolly holiday could create a great deal of stress.
Remember to take care of yourself as well as your children. Take some time to decompress from the day and do something you enjoy. Be it a soothing bath after you put your children to bed or relaxing somewhere quiet with a good book. Make sure you are taking care of your mental and physical health.
A Compassionate Divorce Attorney
Attorney Louis P. Winner has helped many clients through the difficult process of divorce. If you are thinking of divorce and you have children, he can help you create a solid holiday visitation schedule, so you don’t need to stress about those long winter months.
Contact his firm online or call at (502) 812-1889 for a legal consultation.