The holidays can be stressful under the best of circumstances. So how do you make this upcoming season a season to remember? Keep these seven tips in mind when sharing the holidays with your former partner.
- Sharing is caring-Most of the time holidays mean that your child will be splitting their time with both parents and their families. Usually, this means that one parent is spending time with their child on the eve of the holiday and the other parent on the day of that holiday. Think about what each holiday means to your family. Is the eve of the holiday more important or the day of the holiday? It may just be that one parent would prefer to always have Christmas eve versus Christmas day for their parenting time. If you both prefer the same time frame be prepared to share or alternate that portion of the holiday.
- Be prepared for travel to take longer than usual-Pick ups and drop offs of children require everyone to be on time. Travel times getting to those exchange locations can take extra. Heavier than usual traffic or poor travel conditions require that you allow enough time to make the exchange efficient..
- Spending time during a holiday- Holidays usually bring families together under one roof for the evening or several days at a time. Kids of different ages are going to respond differently to these situations. Some kids may enjoy seeing and spending time with family and siblings while other may have the expectation that this is their time to be with them! The take-away here is that your idea of time with you child may be very different than yours.
- Put on a happy face and smile-Undoubtedly, your ex or your ex’s family will have some interaction with you and your children. At some point during your relationship, you and your ex got along well enough to have kids. It stands to reason that children don’t understand why their parents can’t be that way forever. When you do interact children, even very young children, pick up on negative social cues between their parents. Making your interactions with your ex will demonstrate to your children that while the parents can’t live together they are still able to respect one another.
- Are you naughty or nice?-When families who don’t see one another all the time get together, catching up can lead to talking about your children and your ex. Once again your children will recognize and hear when their parent is disparaging the other parent or their family. This is especially important to keep in mind during the holidays. Discourage your family and friends from engaging in this behavior that will have a negative impact on your child..
- Remember when…Every family has traditions. Whether it is cutting down a Christmas tree, baking cookies for Santa or even a trip to the mall, every family and each parent have the same or different traditions that your child may participate in every year. Try to keep those traditions alive. Your children are likely going to remember them for many years and maybe even make them their own.
- Ringing in the new year- Generally speaking New Years Eve is more of an adults only event. Parents are busy socializing with family and friends to the wee hour of the night or at least till the ball drops. Alcoholic beverages and loud music are very common. This is not always fun for the little one, unless the tailor the event to keep them engaged. The younger your child the less likely that they are going to want to participate or even be able to match your late owl New Years Eve parties.
By keeping these tips in mind this holiday season you are sure to have less stressful interactions with your former partner. Enjoy the precious time with your children and your family. The Law Office of Martin Mohr would like to wish you happy holiday’s and a safe New Year!