Small House Guide

Co-Parenting Holiday Tips

The holidays are approaching quickly and if you’re co-parenting with an ex you know how frustrating this time of year can be when you’re trying to maintain a good parenting relationship but inevitably there will be fights over custody, gifts, and other holiday-related issues. Usually, this is the time of the year when even if there is a solid custody plan in place both parents need to be a little more flexible about switching days and times to accommodate holiday family parties and events. And while it can be satisfying to blow up your ex when they sink your careful holiday scheduling with last minute requests and plans you need to be the bigger person and remember that you are doing this for your kids. So use these tips to make co-parenting during the holidays a little bit easier and more civil:

Work Out A Schedule When The Kids Aren’t Around

If you don’t speak to your ex you can try text messaging or using a co-parenting scheduling app to arrange holiday schedules. But do it when your kids aren’t around. When you are with the kids you need to present a united front and not fight. So work out in advance where the kids will be on Christmas Eve, and where they will be on Christmas Day, and when they are going to be at the holiday dinner or at the grandparents’ holiday party. Each of you needs to come to the table with a list of holiday activities that you want the kids to participate in and you need to negotiate in good faith. Remember that you may not get the kids for all the times that you want them to prioritize the events that are the most important to you.

Include The Other Parent If The Kids Ask

This time of the year the kids will be thinking about family and about how it used to be when you and your spouse were still together. They may want all of you to take a selfie together, or they might want to get hot chocolate as a family when you do the drop-off and pick up custody exchange. Do what they ask. This is a hard process for your kids and you can be the grownup and smile and get along with your ex for a selfie, or a cup of hot chocolate. The more you can include your spouse when the kids ask you to the more secure and happy they will feel.

Coordinate Gifts And Set A Limit

This is where co-parenting for the holidays can get tricky. You don’t want one parent to give more gifts or more expensive gifts than the other. If possible give one large gift that is from both of you, like a new console gaming system for the entire household. But if that’s not possible to talk about who is going to give what gifts and set a price limit so that you are both spending about the same amount on the gifts for the kids.

To learn more, read more hot topics about family at Small House Guide.