Co-parenting can be a complex undertaking even under the best circumstances, but holidays and vacations take related challenges to a new level. With emotions running high and parents wanting to spend quality time with their kids, planning can quickly become contentious.
The key to handling vacations and holidays as co-parents is to plan ahead. The more you can organize ahead of time, the smoother things are likely to go. Consider these actionable tips and strategies as you formulate your approach.
Use a shared calendar for better coordination
Maintaining a shared digital calendar can be a game-changer. It’s easier to identify conflicts or double bookings when you both have a bird’s eye view of each other’s time with the children. This also provides an opportunity for both parents to be involved in all aspects of the child’s life, including school activities and other events.
Focus on fair distribution over holiday periods
Holidays can often be a point of contention between co-parents. Given their emotional significance, everyone wants to celebrate with the kids. A fair distribution of holiday time, agreed upon in advance, can help mitigate conflicts. You might alternate significant holidays each year or split the day itself. Some co-parents opt to spend the holidays together as one unit. Making these plans in advance helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Communicate openly but stick to the point
Effective communication can be hard, especially if there’s tension between you and your co-parent. When discussing vacations and holidays, try to stick to the facts and keep emotions out of it as much as possible. Stick to emails or texts, if possible, and always keep the best interests of your children in mind.
Anticipate changes and have backup plans
No matter how well you plan, things can go awry. Flights get canceled, the weather turns bad or unforeseen circumstances can wrench your plans. A backup plan and a flexible mindset will help you adapt to these challenges.
Always let the children know what to expect. This might be a bit easier if you have the standards for vacations and holidays spelled out clearly in your parenting plan. Seeking legal guidance can help you to achieve your aims while safeguarding your rights and facilitating your child’s best interests simultaneously.