Going from seeing your children every day to sharing them with your former spouse is an extremely difficult transition. The holidays can make time apart even harder.
Although you might be familiar with an “every-other-weekend” parenting plan, each family situation is unique. You and your ex can determine what kind of schedule is best for your children, including special times of the year. But what might that look like for your family?
Three ways for co-parents to share holidays with their kids
If you have an amicable divorce, you might feel comfortable with flexible arrangements. However, it’s typically best to document where the children will be – and when – to minimize potential disagreements.
Some of the ways you might decide to celebrate the holidays include:
- Switching years. Say the children are with you this Thanksgiving, and your ex has them for Christmas. You might cook a smaller turkey next November and then prepare to leave cookies and milk out for Santa.
- Half days. Suppose you don’t want the kids to miss out on traditions with either side of their family. In that case, they could spend holiday mornings with you and evenings with their other parent (or vice versa).
- Pre-determined days. The Fourth of July might top your list of important holidays if you want to instill a sense of patriotism in your children. Meanwhile, perhaps your ex looks forward to creating costumes for trick-or-treating. Reaching an agreement can enable you to opt for annual consistency for the kids.
The unfortunate reality is that things will change; as parents, you must do your best to adjust. Knowing you have options might bring some peace to a stressful situation.
Changed circumstances may merit modifying your custody arrangement in the future, as long as you continue prioritizing your children’s best interests. While certain holidays likely hold a special place in your heart, remember the kids crave quality time with you – regardless of the date.