Many people take advantage of the holidays to celebrate, reunite with family, and take a break from work and school. However, amid logistics, interrupted schedules, and other occupations, the holidays can be a tumultuous time, especially for divorced parents and blended families. Some tips for parenting over the holidays will help you have a pleasant and enjoyable holiday season and keep stress to a minimum.
Consult with other parents before you plan your holidays
Vacations can be very busy and can increase stress. Even if your parenting plan or visitation schedule determines what will happen during the holidays, check in with the other parent a few weeks before the children's school break. If your parenting plan is firm over the holidays, confirm logistical details, such as pickup times and locations, to make the transition as smooth as possible for the children.
Commit to keeping the lines of communication open. Discuss how you want to communicate with the other parent in the event of unexpected and uncontrollable events that may require a change in plans, such as illness or major weather delay (by phone, text message, email, etc.).
If your parenting plan is flexible, it is especially important to check in with the other person a few weeks in advance to set the vacation schedule. Moreover, you can manage your custody schedules and timing with the help of a co-parenting app. Nowadays, there are many co-parenting applications available for parents to cope with children in such situations.
Agree on the wishes of each parent and try to reach a compromise that gives the children a meaningful celebration with each parent. Always respect the other parent's time and wait for the completion of any agreement.
Consult with the children
Holidays can be difficult for children when their parents are separated. You can do a lot to set the mood and ensure that your children feel loved and supported by communicating with them. Let your children know that you and your other parent are working together to come up with a vacation plan that allows you to spend time with both of you and everyone in the family.
Inform them of the vacation plan as soon as it is structured, giving them details on when and where they will be picked up. Talk to them about what your plan is for any last-minute changes, so they know what happens if something unexpected happens. Let your children express their frustration and tell them that you listen to them without criticizing them or their other parents.
Focus on the spirit, instead of the date
Remember what vacations are all about - spending time with family and letting our loved ones know that we care about them. Your children will thrive if they feel loved and appreciated, regardless of the exact date of the celebration.
Start new traditions
Have an open conversation with your children about the Christmas traditions they love and ask them to suggest a new tradition that you can start making together. By trying something new, you can help make the vacation a time of bonding, moving forward, and creating new special memories between you and your children, rather than a reminder of "the way it used to be."
Allow everyone a little free time
Even when parents have the best of intentions, the holidays can be overwhelming, especially when children attend multiple celebrations with different sides of the family or when the separation is recent. Schedule downtime for your kids (and yourself) in your vacation plans.
Whether you need a quiet time to enjoy new gifts, enjoy a Christmas movie with popcorn, or simply give the children the option to spend time in their rooms, the relaxation time will allow everyone to process what is happening. and arrive refreshed from the home of one parent to the other. And don't forget to take some time for yourself! Although you will focus on the best interests of your children.