After a divorce or during a separation, it’s important to prioritize your children’s needs, especially during the holidays. Divorced parents must have open communication about gift giving, trip planning and time sharing in order to have a stress free and happy holiday. There are several ways that divorced parents can spend a holiday with their kids and involve their children in the plan so their voice can be heard.
Option 1: Keep the Tradition Going
Depending on the ages of your children, maintaining established family traditions can keep the magic in the holidays by celebrating together as a family. While this approach may not work for all divorced or separated parents, this option gives you time to spend with your children without having to coordinate schedules.
Option 2: Split the Holidays
A common method for separated parents over the holidays is to split the holidays evenly over the course of the year. If you get to spend Christmas Day with your children, your ex-spouse would get to have New Years and so on. Depending on what works best, holiday schedules can alternate every year or one parent can celebrate the same holiday every year.
Option 3: Share the Day
One other way to spend the holidays is to split the actual day apart so that each parent can have time with the children on the actual holiday. Unless your children are old enough to drive, you will still have to chauffeur them between destinations. This option does require some compromise, planning and coordination between parents to determine scheduling needs and wants.
Option 4: Choose a Different Time to Celebrate
Similar to splitting the holidays, but with less coordination, parents can choose an alternate day to celebrate the holiday. If one parent is unable to celebrate on the exact day, that parent can choose the next day or the following weekend to celebrate. This way they can still have the joy of celebrating the missed holiday without having to wait until the next year. Parents would also not have to schedule the day together, because each would have their own separate day to spend their time as they wish.
Child custody determines how children will be raised and the visitation rights of each parent. Custody arrangements will play a role in which options you have available to you. You may only have an alternating weekend schedule, you may be on a rotation schedule or you may only see your children seasonally. Keeping the legal ramifications in mind and working with your ex-partner, choose the best option for your children to create fantastic holiday memories this year and for years to come.