Keeping the Season Bright for All
The holiday season can be both a magical time for family and friends and a bit of a headache for co-parents trying to manage all the events with their children. The blur caused by the various events happening coupled with how quickly everything flies by can make it challenging for co-parents to set aside time and plan how they will make the holiday memorable for their children.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you continue to work through co-parenting issues throughout the holiday season.
Part of what your children remember about the holidays and similar events goes far beyond the presents they receive; what they can remember most is the effort that you, as their parent, put in to make them feel special and loved. Whether that effort comes in the form of their special gift or through just the time you spend with them, children may remember the feelings of being loved and appreciate far more than they may remember what you actually did.
One way to be intentional as co-parents is to plan out a section of time to spend together in spite of the busyness of the holiday season. You may have to take your children to performances and shopping trips or may have to deal with interpersonal conflict with your co-parent, but setting aside time specifically meant to spend time with your children can ensure that they feel loved and valued. You can even go so far as to plan a special shopping “date” with your children complete with lunch!
When it comes to presents for your children, while it might be nice to get them something off their list to Santa, you may want to consider a gift that is more about an experience and less about a toy, such as a ticket to a sporting event or a hands-on experience with crafts. The memories may last longer than the toy they may have wanted. If you choose to get them a special toy, consider something that they will not throw away at some point. Push your creativity!
Plan Early Yet Remain Flexible
As you well know, the holiday season is busy. With traveling from place to place to attending various gatherings, the stress of getting around can be magnified when having to coordinate with a co-parent. It’s important to have a plan early on in the holiday season, and this plan should not only be communicated with your co-parent often but should also be co-created by them as well. Have a plan for how you will coordinate transportation and communication with your co-parent to relieve stress and to make the season smoother.
At the same time, things inevitably come up that are unexpected and throw off your current plan. If this happens, don’t panic! Interruptions to plans can happen all the time and are totally normal, and it’s important to avoid letting any frustrations you feel boil over and affect your children’s experience.
Focus on Your Children
Above all else, your mindset makes a difference in how you handle the holiday season as a co-parent. It can be very easy to focus on your own needs and try to heal from the stress of the season, but your focus should be on your children’s experience this holiday season. Having this focus early on in the holiday season can help inform you of how to handle unusual stressors and other situations that either pop up unexpectedly or are difficult to manage otherwise. Remember this question: how do you want your children to remember this holiday season?
Getting Help When You Need It
Sometimes you may just need help in making co-parenting decisions; you may not have all the answers, and that is completely okay! At Alternative Divorce Solutions, our co-parenting coach can provide you and your co-parent with the support you need to make decisions that benefit both you and your children.