Tips For Working Out Your Holiday Visitation Schedules
Working our your visitation schedules or parenting time for the holidays can be very stressful. The key word is "can be"; it is up to you and your co-parent as to whether or not it will be a positive or negative experience. Remember, both parents will want to spend as much time as they can with the kids.
Here are some suggestions to make your holiday negotiations a little easier:
- Create a standard - Some families choose to alternate holidays every other year. If you got the kids for Thanksgiving this year, next year will be the other parent's turn. Having a regular plan to fall back on can eliminate the potential for what is fair.
- Be flexible and compromise - Take into account work schedules, you don't want the kids sitting at home alone over the holidays. The easiest holiday schedule for everyone may require some changes from the normal visitation schedule. It may be hard to break long-standing traditions, but developing new traditions can help to reduce the stress.
- Be respectful - Treat the other parent with respect. You may not want to be friends anymore, but you need to figure out how to communicate with your ex without all the emotional baggage. Using tools like the OurFamilyWizard website can help you to deescalate the communication.
- Don't mix issues - Bringing in old or unrelated issues may just compound the problem and make it more difficult to come to an agreed upon holiday visitation schedule. To increase the peace, it may be worth it for you and your ex to set aside your differences until after the holiday season.
- Choose you battles - Some holidays are more important than others to you, don't fight just for the sake of fighting. Maybe you really care about Halloween and the other parent really cares about Thanksgiving, if that is the case coming up with a rule becomes a lot easier.
- Shield the children - Your children will have negative memories of the holidays if they have to witness you and the other parent arguing about what to do with them. By shielding your children from the adult dialogues, you can help to ensure that they only have positive holiday memories.
- Plan ahead - Starting talking about any changes to the holiday visitation schedule sooner than later, the longer you wait the more stress you will add.
- Focus on you - You have no control over the other parent's behaviors, but you can control yours. Taking the high road may be tougher on you, but if your kids can benefit it may be worth it.
- Ask the kids - Find out what it is important to your kids. They may have a holiday gathering that holds a special place for them; if this is the case you should try and accommodate them if it makes sense.
- Take a breath - The holidays can be very stressful even if you aren't divorced, so remember to take a moment to relax and enjoy all of the holiday festivities. Enjoy the company of friends and family and don't let yourself get overwhelmed.