3 Ways to Handle Co-Parenting During the Holidays

To face unafraid, the plans that we made… co-parenting in a winter wonderland. Is that how the old song goes? For many children, winter break is the most wonderful time of the year, while for many divorced parents, it can be the most stressful. It can mean navigating time, gifts, and talking to your ex way more than you want to. There are ways to deal with these wintertime co-parenting blues – it just takes a lot of clarity and a little bit of patience.

Here are some ways to handle three of the most common holiday issues we see:

How to Handle Scheduling

Washington parenting plans establish plans for school holidays, including winter break. Parents do not have to agree on how they share the holidays. However, a typical split we see is one parent will have their child through Christmas Eve and the other parent will have their child on Christmas morning through the remainder of the holiday break. Most parents who use this plan will alternate which portion of winter break they receive each year.

The obvious issue with this is that the morning of Christmas day can feel like the most magical day of the year. Whoever does not get to see their child on Christmas morning – even if they’ve had them for weeks leading up to that day – will be hurt. This is why it is important to rotate this holiday break and allow both parents to share in this magical day. 

Another common issue is the school schedules. In Washington, the date winter break begins moves around somewhat substantially. Thus, whichever parent has the second half of break reserved will most likely have more time with the child.

If you have a set plan that has been working, stick to that. If you’re unhappy with the one you have, make a plan to divide the time evenly each year based on the specific amount of days in winter break. If you do go without having your kid on Christmas day itself, make sure to video chat with them. If the situation is reserved, make sure to let your child video chat with the other parent. It may even give you a moment to breathe.

How to Handle Presents

Gifts can be a point of contention for co-parents. Whether you know or not what your ex is giving your child, there’s a natural instinct to want to top them. As the saying goes: compare and despair. Remember that your child will love the time they get to spend with you more than any gift, and there’s no need to over do it.

We also see an issue commonly where one co-parent will give their child a piece of new technology, like a laptop, tablet, or video game console. The other parent will want the technology to be monitored, so the child doesn’t spend all day in front of a screen or be exposed to inappropriate content. Having a conversation about how the child will use the technology responsibly can be helpful, as can setting up Parental Controls, a feature almost all devices have. If you feel like “the bad parent” for limiting time, try replacing it with a more active form of healthy fun.

How to Handle Communication

For some co-parents, the holidays mean talking to their ex more than they like to. While it can always be hard dealing with them, remember that clearer communication actually leads to firmer boundaries between the two of you. Remember to always be clear and have your intention in mind when communicating, and hold your ex to the same standard as well.

Try not to let the difficulties of co-parenting affect your holiday spirit. Remember that all the time you get to spend with your child is precious, and they treasure it as much as you do. For any help with family law, contact McMahon Law Group today. Have a merry holiday season!

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McMahon Law Group

Legal issues of any type can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, and certainly something you don’t want to face alone. Attorney Jacque McMahon and the McMahon Law Group will work closely with you to ensure you not only get the best legal representation possible, but that you are well-informed throughout the process. If you are facing legal issues, please contact us to discuss your situation and get the help you need.

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