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Co-Parenting at Christmas: Essential Do's and Don'ts for Successful Co-Parenting

3 Dec

To ensure a successful co-parenting experience over Christmas, here are eight helpful tips:

Mum and Dad (wearing Santa hat arguing next to a Xmas tree, girl in foreground looking sad

As a child of divorce who has experienced Christmas celebrations in two separate homes, I can assure you that it is possible to have a wonderful holiday season. Reflecting on my past, I now realise the efforts my parents made to make it special for me.

While Christmas is traditionally associated with family, it can also be enjoyed with friends or even on your own. However, it can be a challenging time for co-parenting after separation, especially during the first Christmas in this new situation. Effective communication and compromise are crucial, although emotions may run high.

To ensure a successful co-parenting experience over Christmas, here are eight helpful tips:

1. Plan in advance: Christmas is not just a single day, but a season that both you and your children would like to share. Discussing and planning ahead will enable you to prepare for the time you'll spend together or apart during the holiday. Remember, in some countries, Christmas Eve holds greater significance, so you can explain this to your children if you won't be together on the day.

2. Consider your children's preferences: Younger children tend to focus more on the day's traditions, while older ones may want to have a say in the Christmas plans. Try to include them in the decision-making process.

3. Include extended family: For the sake of your children, consider which members of their extended family they should spend time with during the Christmas period. Divorces can sometimes affect relationships with grandparents, so it's important to make compromises while keeping their well-being in mind.

By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable Christmas season for everyone involved.

4. Share and be fair: Ensure a balanced Christmas period for your children by sharing time equally between both parents. Consider alternating between Christmas day and Boxing day, or finding a schedule that works for everyone. Prioritize fairness to provide equal time and create lasting memories.

5. Present a united front: Building a successful co-parenting relationship requires unity, especially during the holiday season. Maintain stability and reassurance for your children by staying united throughout the year, including Christmas. Stick to your agreed plan, even when it comes to present giving, to avoid unnecessary comparisons.

6. Avoid competition: Resist the temptation to outdo each other during the holidays. Trying to make this year extra special or outshining your ex-partner creates an unhealthy and damaging competitive mindset. Focus on your own self-worth and prioritize your children's well-being, keeping them away from the middle of any conflicts.

7. Planning for Kid-Free Time: Make plans for the times when you don't have the kids. It's just as important as planning your time with them. Use this opportunity to do something different, something you've always wanted to do but couldn't due to being in a big group or your ex-partner's disapproval. Explore options like going on a holiday, spending time with friends, or volunteering. And if you prefer to relax and do nothing, embrace the "Netflix and chill" mantra. Whatever you choose, make sure it brings you joy!

8. Effective Communication: Communication is the key to any successful relationship, especially when it comes to co-parenting. Find a communication method that works for both of you, whether it's face-to-face or via email. Seeking professional help to establish a healthy communication pattern can be beneficial. Remember, your intimate relationship may be over, but your co-parenting relationship will continue.

I hope these tips help you create joyful memories with your children during this season. As someone who experienced their parents' divorce at a young age, I can honestly say that I've always cherished Christmas and enjoyed spending time with both parents. If you find this time challenging or if you're struggling, remember that you don't have to face it alone. Reach out to friends, family, or organizations like the Samaritans for support. Christmas can be a demanding time for everyone, even those in functional relationships. Take a step back, gain perspective, and remember that it's supposed to be fun. Shift your focus onto others, and you'll reap the benefits. This approach will also help you avoid getting overwhelmed by the chaos of Christmas planning, shopping, and trying to achieve perfection.

Wishing you the best of luck and enjoyment during this season. And always remember, I am available for contact through my website.

Nichole x

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