Advice On How To Schedule The Holidays With The Kids
When parents are separated and/or divorced, the holidays can be very stressful times for both the parties and for their children. Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing an effective, less stressful holiday schedule:
- As always, remember that this is about what is best for your children. Holidays especially will be a time of heightened emotions for everyone, so be mindful of keeping your own feelings under control and be there for your child.
- Remember that children will want to celebrate holidays and special days with both of their parents. No matter what your relationship is with the other parent, your children need the help and cooperation of both parents to help make this happen for them.
- It is crucial for children to develop holiday traditions with both parents and extended families. You want them to be able to look back and remember special times with each of you.
- Both parents must have the child’s school schedule available when planning holidays.
- Set a time for a phone call with the parent that is not with the child on the specific holiday.
- Keep travel plans in mind for holiday traditions and family gatherings. If long blocks of time due to travel are necessary, it may be best to alternate years so that the children can fully participate with and appreciate the time with their extended family members.
- Be flexible when it comes to holiday activities that your children may want to participate in, such as shopping, gift wrapping, parties, baking, decorating, etc. There may be certain traditions that they wish to keep, regardless of scheduling conflicts.
- Keep your children’s ages in mind. Although infants and toddlers are unaware of their surroundings, their presence at family gatherings during holidays may be important to the adults in both extended families. School age children are very mindful of holidays and want to have special time with both families, whereas teenagers may not be as excited about family gatherings and activities.
- Your children’s safety and joy during the holidays should always take precedence.
- You might choose to vary your method for each holiday, as one method might work well for one holiday, but not another.
In addition, here are 4 different options for sharing holidays that you and the other parent can consider in scheduling holidays:
- Divide: Let the child spend time with both parents on the holiday or holiday weekend.
- Alternate: The children spend certain holidays with one parent in even years, and the other parent in odd years.
- Substitute: One parent always has a certain holiday in exchange for another holiday.
- Regular Schedule: Regardless of the holiday, you follow your regular schedule and the children spend it with the parent they would normally be with.
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