Time Sharing & Children: Creating Happy Holidays

Holidays with Children After Divorce

Family dynamics can make the holidays stressful, but divorce adds a whole other layer to the drama. One of the best ways to keep the peace is to prioritize how your children will enjoy the holiday. Not only will that keep things as normal as possible for them, but it might even help you keep that childlike wonder that might be lost in the stressors of a separation.

Deciding how to create a holiday schedule for time-sharing can be difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. Here are a few tips on how to navigate the holiday season when you’re sharing custody of your children.

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.

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 Year’s Eve and so on. Depending on what works best, holiday schedules can alternate every year or one parent can celebrate the same holiday every year.

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.

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.

Enjoy the Holidays!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the holidays are meant to be a time of celebration. Child custody determines the visitation rights of each parent. It does not determine the best way to create memories for your family. Be honest with your ex about what you need this time of year and be open to compromise so everyone can celebrate in a way that’s best for the children.