Co-Parenting and Holidays

Co-Parenting and Holidays are challenging. The holiday season is right around the corner. There is a wonderful opportunity to connect and to create new memories. However, for divorced parents, the holiday season is a time of added stress and increased strife. To avoid negative holidays, here’s some tips for co-parenting and visitation schedules.

Co-Parenting Holiday Success

Divorced parents need a visitation co-parenting schedule for holiday success. One of the best ways to avoid conflict during the holiday season is to have a well thought out holiday schedule in place. It is not uncommon to see parents alternate the years that they will have children on a particular holiday. (For example, Father has Thanksgiving Day during even years and Mother has Thanksgiving Day during odd years). Another option is to split the actual holiday with the other parent. One parent will have the children during Christmas morning and the other parent will have the children during Christmas evening. Logistics such as time, location, and transportation need consideration. Creating a schedule helps divorced parents create good memories for their children.

Co-Parenting Focus on the Children

Focus on the children and put their needs first. Each parent needs to be respectful towards the parent’s traditions and beliefs with regards to a particular holiday. Think about it this way, do you want your children to have positive or negative memories associated with the holidays? Do you want to be the one responsible for the negative memories or emotions the children come to associate with a particular holiday in the future? Memories last a lifetime.

Holidays-Keep it Civil

“I wanted to have you kids for Hanukah, but your Father is selfish and insisted you stay with him instead,” or “You guys would have a better time with my side of the family.” Sound familiar? Behavior or statements that attempt to alienate a child from a parent is incredibly damaging for children. Avoid put-down and negative statements. If you have a grievance with your ex, discuss it directly with them but do not get the children involved. Put aside the petty squabbles. Keep it civil and create good holiday memories.

New Holiday Traditions

Create new holiday traditions.  Here’s a new idea: Think about spending time together as a joint holiday with new traditions.  Co-parents who opt to spend the holidays together often find that that this arrangement is the most enjoyable for both the adults and children. Additionally, it is more convenient since there is less planning and stress involved regarding transporting and splitting time with the children. Try to find a way for the other parent to be a meaningful part of your child’s life even when they are not present. For example, if you are taking your child to the mall to get a picture with Santa, send a picture to the other party to help them feel involved. If you are having a get together, consider inviting your ex to the event too.

Co-Parenting Communication

Co-Parenting communication is important during the holidays. Parents should discuss ahead of time which gifts are appropriate and which are off-limits. Unfortunately, co-parents can use the holidays to one up the other parent to win their children’s loyalty or soothe their own guilty conscious. I remember a case where a parent became angry because the other parent bought the children hoverboards. (He did not like them because he felt they were unsafe). Good communication will help keep holidays positive.

Co-Parents avoid competing.  Find ways to share holiday moments. For example, if you are taking your child to the mall to get a picture with Santa, send a picture to the other party to help him or her feel involved. If you are having a get together, consider inviting your ex to the event too.

Need Help with Holiday Visitation?

When a former couple shares children, for better or for worse, they are in each other’s lives forever. Instead of fighting this reality, try to find a way for the other parent to be a meaningful part of your child’s life even when they are not present.

The following is a Guest Blog for Tucker Legal Services from Hooma Shah, Esq, a family lawyer.  She is operates her own law firm and not an associated or employed by TLS. As a family law attorney, it is not unusual for her to see a sudden uptick of activity during the holiday season. Struggling to navigate schedules during a separation or divorce, you may reach out to Hooma Shah at (636) 299-0250 or visit her website The Shah Law Firm, LLC. at https://www.TheShawLawFirm.org

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Sheri Tucker

Owner and Founder of Tucker Legal Services, LLC. I'm an attorney licensed since 1991 with a M.S. in Psychology. Member of ABA, MOBAR, BAMSL, Elder Counsel, Wealth Counsel, and NAELA.

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