With your children back at school, your divorce underway and the holidays quickly approaching, now is the time to consider your upcoming plans for the festive season. When special events come up for your family, the delicate balance of sharing parenting time may become difficult as you have to navigate birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and more.
Thinking through different ways of developing your parenting plan in advance may help you prepare for and alleviate the stress that naturally arises around the holiday season.
Keeping the family together for special days
Depending on the relationship you have with your soon-to-be ex and provided that you two can avoid conflict, one option is to keep the family together for the holidays. Although you as parents ended your romantic relationship, the family you have with your children still exists. If possible, celebrating holidays all together can help your children still feel loved and supported by both parents.
Creating a split schedule
If the idea of not seeing your children at all on certain holidays devastates you, consider creating a split schedule. Your children can see both parents on these special days. For example, they can celebrate with you in the morning and early afternoon and stay with their other parent during the late afternoon and night.
Choosing to follow an alternating schedule
Another possible approach is to have your children spend every other special occasion or holiday with each parent. Maybe you can host your children for Halloween and Christmas while your ex will have them for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. The following year, the holidays will switch.
For most of the year, creating a shared parenting plan will not prove difficult; however, the holidays may bring up more feelings within your family that need addressing in your plan.