Whether you have a cooperative arrangement or contentious one, keeping the children first is key. Below are a few tips to assist you during the holiday season.
1. Reflect for a moment on your own holiday experience as a child. If it was pleasant, then you want to make it so for your own children. If it was not, then you are fully aware of the feeling, and you want to give your children a better experience.
2. Remember that despite the pressures to find just the right gift or cook the proper dish, and no matter what your religion; this is a time for celebrating family, life and giving thanks.
3. Open the lines of communication for your children’s sake. They didn’t make the decision for their parents to be apart and should not have to bear the burden of your decisions.
4. Agree that both of you will write down, then exchange how you would plan for the holiday season; including who will spend time where, and for how long and how gifts will be purchased, if applicable (note that one parent should not be made to feel guilty if they are not in a financial position to purchase a gift that the other parent suggested).
5. Discuss in person, by email or telephone (whichever way works best for you all) what you can agree to. Continue to keep in mind what is best for your children. Despite how you may feel about your co-parent, your children love you both and need to establish their own relationships with each of you.
6. Inform your children on how they will spend the holidays. Let them know that you and their mother/father have set up a great holiday plan that will allow them to enjoy time with both of you. Your attitude during delivery is important. Children are very intuitive and will read your mood.
7. Keep your end of the bargain. Do not change the plans without discussing with your co-parent.
8. Dwell on the positive impact you’ve just made on your children’s lives, instead of stewing over what you compromised. This is not about you. . . AT ALL!
9. Communicate any uncontrollable changes, late arrivals, etc. with your co-parent. Be considerate of the other person’s time. Remember that the focus is the health and well being of the most important people in this situation, your children.
10. Commend the other party for putting the children first.
One of the most critical things we can do for a child is to make them feel secure and stable. This platform will give them the ability to explore the world with confidence and fortitude. That is a great holiday gift that keeps on giving.