With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's time to make sure you have your holiday visitation schedule worked out with your ex-spouse. As co-parents you both need to keep your number one focus on your children. They deserve to have a voice when making your holiday plans. It can be done; and you will be wise to listen to their input. Your children need to know that what they hope their holidays will look like matters. Remember to have realistic expectations, and be a team player as you co-parent through the holiday season. Choose to make it the happiest time of the year for you and your children!
Here are some helpful tips to make your holiday planning a little easier and joyful.
As a co-parent with children (up through age 18), remember to have realistic expectations. The holiday season can be an emotional, pulling-at-the-heartstrings time of the year for both you and your children where divorce has occurred. Take the time before the holidays begin (that means now) to talk with your children about holiday plans for Thanksgiving through New Year's.. Reinforce the reality that the holidays will look different than they used to. Remind your children that it will still be special, and you will be creating new traditions together. Remember to listen to your children's voices. Choose to be realistic, and also be grateful for the special times you will share with your children.
Communicate with your ex-spouse:
Communicating with your ex-spouse to finalize your holiday visitation plans and timeline is critical. It takes careful planning, and time to accommodate and work around one another's holiday plans, extended family gatherings, etc. Be willing to work with your ex-spouse, and show your children that you can work their plans out peacefully. Make it a priority to be a team player with your ex-spouse, so you can both make your children's holiday season special. There is no reason to be adversarial when co-parenting. The consequences of doing so are detrimental to your children's well-being and to your own well-being.
If you cannot communicate with your ex-spouse about holiday plans or visitation for your children, I highly recommend reaching out to a special master for assistance. A special master is an expert who assists adversarial co-parents in learning how to work together for the best interest of their children. Ask your attorney, mediator or counselor for a referral. A special master can be a real life-saver for you, your ex-spouse and your children.
Communicate with your children:
Take time now to sit down with your children, and talk about what they would like their holidays to look like. It is important for you to take their input seriously. Listen carefully to what they tell you, because your children are just as important in your family as you are. Their voices matter, too. Your children deserve to have their wishes, and hopes for their holidays honored by you and your ex-spouse. It is very possible to work out your holiday plans with every family member giving their input, then accommodating where needed, together.
Once you agree on holiday plans with your children, present the plans to your ex-spouse. Next, you and your ex-spouse will need to accommodate one another's plans as needed. It may take a few back and forth conversations or emails with your ex-spouse to finalize plans, but it will be worth it to do so peacefully.
Now for the details:
Once you've finalized holiday plans with your ex-spouse and children, it's time to start anticipating a wonderful holiday season. Start taking care of the details in terms of travel plans (if needed), daily plans for the time you will be spending with your children, special events and gatherings. Make sure your children are included in holiday gatherings with extended family. Usually grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins play a very important role in children's lives. Those relationships need to always be honored by you and your ex-spouse. Now sit back, and begin to enjoy a smooth, well-organized, and joyful holiday season with your children.
When it's time for your children to go spend time with your ex-spouse, be sure to have plans made ahead of time for yourself, as well. You don't want to let the lonely, tugging-at-the-heart-strings feelings set in with your children being away from you. Go do something nice for your extended family, a friend, a neighbor. Make plans to spend time with family and friends. Decide to be grateful for the wonderful holiday season, and the special times you shared with your children; have no regrets!
In conclusion, choose to make this holiday season (and future holiday seasons to come) a joyful one for you and your children. Remember the holidays are meant to be special with times spent together as family and friends. Be sure to make your plans together with your children, because what they wish and hope for matters, too! Take the time to communicate peacefully as a team player with your ex-spouse, keeping your focus on your children. It is very possible to make your holiday plans together, showing respect for one another. If you cannot, then reach out to a special master who will be a life-saver for your family. Remember the importance of extended family gatherings for your children. The holidays are meant to be the happiest time of the year. Choose to make it so for your children, having no regrets! YOU can do it!! It will be your happiest time of the year, too!