Tips for co-parenting over the holiday season
By Best Wilson Buckley Family Law |04 December 2022 |Parenting Arrangements and Disputes-Articles
The holiday season as a parent of young children can be stressful at the best of times. For parents who have recently separated, or who have been separated for a while and may still be struggling to adapt to co-parenting, it can be even more so.
Conflicting with this fact is that for many young children, the holiday season is their favourite time of the year. As a parent myself, I know that I want my children to remember each Christmas as a special, enjoyable, and memorable period.
So, when waves of unpleasant emotions are being experienced by either one or both parents and are clouding our judgement and preventing us from seeing the bigger picture, how can you put those feelings aside to co-parent in a way that doesn’t impact your children?
As family lawyers, we’re not going to pretend that it’s always easy. However, what we can do is arm you with some simple tips to keep in mind as you navigate the upcoming holiday season.
- - Communication
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: communication is key. The ability to communicate positively with the other parent, particularly in front of the children, is perhaps the most important part of co-parenting. If you want to make plans for the holidays, make sure that you give the other parent as much notice as possible. This will hopefully avoid conflicting schedules and allow time to make the necessary arrangements.
- - Be reasonable
If the other parent proposes an arrangement that does not interfere with your plans, do not unreasonably refuse their request simply to spit the other parent. After all, your children will be the ones missing out at the end of the day.
That being said, if the other parent proposes an arrangement that does conflict with your plans, then try to come up with an alternative that will work for everyone. Propose an alternate solution rather than simply shutting down the other parent’s plans. If the children got to wake up with you last Christmas morning, maybe this year they can wake up with the other parent.
- - Keep a record
If communication between the parents is difficult (or even if it isn’t), emails and text messages are a good way to keep the communication lines open. The benefit to communicating by emails or text messages is that there is a written record of what you discussed. This will hopefully avoid any miscommunications and ensure that both parents are on the same page.
- - Travel
If both parents live close to each another, often Christmas Day can be split. One parent may have the children Christmas morning one year with the other parent having Christmas afternoon/night. The next year, those arrangements might swap.
However, when parents live further away from each other, often those arrangements are impractical and mean that your children might spend most of their Christmas in the car travelling between households and families. The last thing you want on Christmas Day is to be stuck in traffic. Consider alternating Christmas or even having an earlier or later Christmas. Most children won’t complain about getting a second Christmas, after all!
- - It’s all about the kids
When co-parenting over the holidays, above all else, just remember that the happiness and well-being of the children is the most important thing. You want to make sure that your children are safe but you also want to make sure that they are happy. Despite what you may think of the other parent following separation, it is important to recognise the important role they play in your children’s lives.
If you and the other parent are struggling to reach a resolution regarding parenting arrangements for the Christmas holidays, it’s not too late to get help. Reach out to one of our experienced family lawyers today. contact our Brisbane, Ipswich, North Lakes, Toowoomba, or Dalby offices today by phoning 07 4639 0000 or emailing us at [email protected]. Before we close for the Christmas break by submitting your contact details online.