WHAT ARE SUGGESTIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY CO-PARENTING? – Little one Custody Authorized Blogs Posted by Gerard F. Miles
If you’re separated or divorced and share custody with your ex-spouse, the upcoming holiday season may be something to fear instead of looking forward to. It doesn’t have to be if you focus your efforts on keeping your emotions in check and prioritizing your children’s needs. Like anything else that is meaningful and worthwhile, successful parenting requires work. Here are some ways you and the other parent of your children can enjoy the upcoming holiday season.
How can families talk about vacation arrangements?
When children are old enough to understand, their attention should be drawn to the fact that this is your priority for you and your ex-spouse, but the holidays will be different than in the past. Instead of planning everything without their input, ask the children for some ideas; what would you like to do? If they are at a loss for words, narrow it down by giving them a few choices and letting them make the final decisions. They might want to be closer to their friends or split a big day between homes. It is also important to be flexible; If someone becomes sick or a snow storm occurs, plans may need to be adjusted through no fault of their own.
This preparation also extends to discussing acceptable plans with your ex-spouse. Last-minute arguments about who is going where, when, can ruin a vacation, especially when it’s in front of the kids. When the two of you start on opposite sides, you understand that negotiation is likely required and do your best to keep calm. If both parties cannot agree, it is wise to put the discussion aside for a day or so before renegotiating. The final decisions can be written down, texted or added to a shared parents’ calendar. These can serve to document the agreements made. If you have a custody agreement, it should include a vacation schedule.
Holiday celebration options
When children are in school and parents are working, vacation activities need to be carefully coordinated. Another important aspect is how far apart the parents live. Greater distances may require the children to spend Thanksgiving in one house and Christmas in the other. Other options are to spend Christmas Eve with dad and Christmas with mom.
Most children like to feel close to both parents during the vacation, so such arrangements can make them sad or angry at first. They can use the tactic of introducing new holiday traditions to strengthen their attitudes; After all, it can be depressing when everything is the same except that a parent isn’t around. Why not think about starting new traditions? For example, if you’ve never skated with the teens on Christmas Eve or volunteered at a shelter on New Year’s Day, you might find both exciting and rewarding. You could try serving Christmas dinner at an earlier hour with completely different dishes and creating new, homemade decorations.
What about gifts?
Money can be a problem for separated and divorced couples, and buying expensive Christmas gifts may not be an option. You can explain this to the children when they are old enough, but it can be difficult. You can try to set limits on how much money can be spent and what types of gifts are prohibited. Some parents try to compensate too much with expensive gifts, but the rewards for doing so are short-lived and can lead to debt. Ex-spouses and partners who get on well may consider contributing to larger gifts when a child wants something special. Homemade and inexpensive gifts can be much more heartfelt and valued. So remember to bake and wrap cookies, a homemade fairy costume, or movie tickets.
In-laws may also want to overcompensate for generous gifts, and there may be no way to prevent it. Instead of focusing on these gifts and feeling resentment, parents can acknowledge the gifts but avoid making a big deal of them. However, you can have the children call their grandparents to thank them; This is a thoughtful and cherished gesture.
How can we make a vacation schedule?
There is software on the market designed to help create parenting vacation plans that can be shared between parents, children, and other family members. Other than that, with a calendar app or a paper calendar, it’s not difficult to do this yourself. Save the calendar each year as a guide for the next year, but keep in mind that children’s wants and needs will change as they age. Of course, as they get older, children want to spend more time with their friends, and this isn’t necessarily a personal insult to their parents.
There are four basic ways to split the vacation between parents. The first is to assign fixed holidays. Every year a child could spend Thanksgiving with mom and Christmas with dad. The vacation time could alternate every two years. One year the child will spend Thanksgiving with mom and the next year with dad. The third option is to spend part of the day with one parent and the second part with the other. The latter choice is more unusual, but children often love it: the idea of planning a vacation twice. This would mean that Christmas Day would be spent with Papa on December 25th and with Mama on another day in December.
With all these appointments and celebrations, many parents have little time for themselves. Take a close look at the holiday calendar and make time for your friends and family. If possible, indulge in a manicure, take a hike, or take a short overnight excursion. Remember, parents who take time for their own needs will have more energy, both physically and mentally, to look after their children.
Baltimore County’s childcare attorneys at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC want all families to have a happy holiday season
You can make this holiday season more meaningful for you and your children if you communicate openly and plan a vacation schedule that can make everyone happier. If your separation or divorce is challenging and you have custody concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the caring and compassionate Baltimore County custody attorneys at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We put families first and we will stand up for their rights. For more information and a free consultation, fill out our online form or call us at 443-589-0150. Based in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve customers across Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll Counties, Harford Counties, and Howard Counties.
Visit us at: https://www.huesmanjonesandmiles.com/